- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The board that oversees the University of New Mexico and President Bob Frank have reached an agreement for Frank to leave office early, and he will replaced on an interim basis by another top administrator as the school embarks on a search for a new leader, the university announced Tuesday.

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Chaouki Abdallah will become acting president on Jan. 1 after Frank leaves office Dec. 31, and Dean Craig White will be acting provost, the university’s statement said.

The statement said Frank will be provided a paid leave of absence for “professional development” to run until the May 31 end of his current contract and that he’ll then begin a faculty appointment at a salary of $190,000, reduced from his current $362,136.

“The Board of Regents has determined it is in the best interest of UNM to bring a quick resolution to this matter that is both fair and doesn’t impede our ability to move forward as an institution and conduct a successful presidential search,” board President Robert Doughty said in the statement.

Frank has been UNM president since June 2012. Without giving a reason, he announced in September that he wouldn’t seek a contract renewal.

The regents held a 3½-hour closed-door special meeting last week to consider suspending or firing Frank but ended up taking no action at that time.

The Albuquerque Journal (https://bit.ly/2g2enjn ) reported before last week’s meeting that the consideration of ousting Frank was in response to a report critical of his management style.

The report said some university employees said Frank at times displayed a temper and could be condescending and sarcastic. The report’s author, attorney Alice Kilborn, wrote that she saw evidence of “shades of a hostile working environment.”

Others interviewed for the report said Frank cared about his staff, was affable and that most of their interactions were pleasant.

Frank has said work in the president’s office at times was intense and stressful, but it would be “inaccurate to describe it as a hostile work environment.”

The statement said the regents plan to pick a new president by early spring.

An executive search firm has been chosen to help recruit a new president and Doughty will chair the search and select a campus advisory process to participate in the process, the statement said.

At least five finalists will be selected for on-campus interviews, the statement said.

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