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February 29, 1996

Board gives Business/Finance authority to two administrators who will handle Tuchi's area

In the wake of Senior Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance Ben J. Tuchi's resignation, the Board of Trustees approved a resolution authorizing two other administrators to sign documents and contracts relating to areas that Tuchi had supervised.

The board vote was necessary because, under normal circumstances, only senior personnel designated as officers of the University may sign documents and contracts on behalf of Pitt.

The resolution covered the two administrators appointed by Interim Chancellor Mark Nordenberg as interim Business and Finance leaders:

* Assistant Chancellor Jerome Cochran, whom Nordenberg named interim vice chancellor for Business. Cochran will oversee Pitt's business, computing and information services, facilities management, and human resources functions.

* Associate Vice Chancellor for Budget and Administration Arthur Ramicone, whom Nordenberg appointed interim vice chancellor for Finance. Ramicone is responsible for budget and administration and the controller's office.

"The uncoupling of Business and Finance, at least for the short term, is deliberate," Nordenberg wrote in a Feb. 19 memorandum to the University community. "That separation should facilitate a study of both structure and staffing in these areas, which will be undertaken in the weeks ahead as part of a more general review of University organization." Pitt announced Tuchi's resignation on Feb. 19, saying it was effective immediately. Tuchi, 59, had been the University's chief financial officer. He had overseen virtually all Pitt financial operations, although Nordenberg had assumed some of Tuchi's responsibilities (including institutional research, internal audit and legal counsel) upon taking office as interim chancellor in August.

Next month, Tuchi will take a tenured, senior faculty position in the Katz Graduate School of Business, under an agreement he made when he came to Pitt in June 1992. As senior vice chancellor, Tuchi's salary had been $161,500. At the Katz school, his salary will be reduced to "a level well within the established range for a senior professor in that school," Nordenberg wrote.

The Katz school dean's office declined to release the salary range for its senior faculty. The average salary for a Pittsburgh campus full professor is $77,000.

Before joining Pitt, Tuchi had been vice chancellor for business and finance and chief financial officer for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There he had worked with former Pitt Chancellor J. Dennis O'Connor, who recruited him to Pitt 10 months after coming here himself from Chapel Hill.

Tuchi's resignation came five months after that of Pitt's top fund-raiser, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement Lawrence Weber. Like Tuchi, Weber had been hired by O'Connor in 1992.

Three weeks before Tuchi resigned, Pitt released a report by a team of consultants that said the University's finances appeared to be "out of control." Trustees chairperson J. Wray Connolly disputed that characterization, telling the University Times: "This is a big business and it's being run reasonably effectively. Can we do a much better job in these areas? Yes, I think we can, and I'm confident that we will." Nordenberg, in accepting Tuchi's resignation, wrote: "I want to publicly thank Dr. Tuchi for his dedicated efforts on behalf of the University of Pittsburgh. Shortly after arriving on our campus, he pledged that he would work tirelessly to make our Business and Finance unit one of the best in American higher education. He has honored that pledge through his efforts, and achieving that level of quality will remain our goal." In a statement released by Pitt, Tuchi said: "This was the appropriate step for me to take at this time in light of my personal aspirations and the University's direction."

— Bruce Steele

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