Chief Financial Officer Kelly Young will take a new role with Abilene Christian Investment Management Company, the endowment management arm, as soon as a new CFO is chosen.
Young said he will most likely become the Vice President or Managing Director for Direct Investments for ACIMO. He said after 15 years of serving in senior administration at ACU and Pepperdine University, he was ready for a change.
“Last summer I asked Dr. Schubert if he would agree to me changing roles and gave him some projects in which I am interested,” Young said. “Gratefully, he supported my desire to stay at ACU and we agreed that trying to develop some of the land surrounding ACU could benefit ACU, our students and the City of Abilene.”
Young said he, President Schubert and Jack Rich, chief investment officer, have all had the desire to improve the land around ACU, but have had difficulties finding time to move projects ahead. He said his new role will allow him to devote more time to making plans for a more exciting and attractive area around campus a reality.
He said his primary duties with ACIMO will be finding four or five large parcels of land owned by ACU that are near to campus.
“Our vision for these developments varies depending upon the land and the location,” Young said. “Some we hope to develop into ‘mixed-use,’ including dining, retail and, perhaps, entertainment. Â Some will likely be developed as residential and some commercial/professional.”
He said the guiding principles are to enhance the land around ACU, turn undeveloped land into income producing assets and partner with the City of Abilene to create a “vibrant first-impression” for the city while improving economic development on the north side of town.
As CFO, Young is responsible for all of the university’s financial operations, facilities, risk management, construction and business services. He said the new CFO must have a strong financial background and success in leading the financial operations of a large organization.
“He or she will need excellent communication skills to be able to express complex financial strategies to diverse audiences,” he said. “Perhaps most especially, they will need to be creative as they work through the challenges and opportunities currently found in higher education.”
Young said these challenges include making tuition rates more competitive, bringing down student debt and becoming more productive and efficient.
Dr. Allison Garrett, executive vice president of the university, said ACIMO has been “very understanding” while the university searches for a new CFO.
“They’ve allowed us to continue our search while we try to find the right person to take Kelly’s place,” she said.
Garrett said the position has been advertised in the Chronicle of Higher Education, on the human resources website and through the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities.
“We’ve received a number of applications,” she said. “So far we’ve brought four people to campus to interview, and we have another one or two who we’ll be interviewing over the next few weeks.”
Garrett said she hopes the position will be filled over the summer, but timing is flexible and based on when the right person is identified.
“The ideal candidate would be someone who is a CPA, who also has a master’s degree and who has a substantial amount of supervisory in high education experience,” she said.
Garrett said a number of individuals have interviewed each candidate and provided feedback. Candidates will be narrowed down by comparing feedback, then she and Schubert will confer about the final selection.
“I have been really grateful to Kelly because he has been so helpful with candidates and talking with them about the staff and the duties of the position, challenges, areas where things are going really well and areas where we need to do some additional improvement,” Garrett said. “He’s been so gracious to spend his time helping candidates get up to speed, and I appreciate that a great deal.”