ANN ARBOR, MI – Greek-American Geoffrey Chatas has been named executive vice president and chief financial officer at the University of Michigan (U-M), the University Record reported on August 12. Chatas is currently the senior vice president and chief operating officer for Georgetown University.
His five-year appointment, effective October 1, is authorized by President Mark Schlissel and follows the recommendation from a national search conducted by a search advisory committee. The U-M Board of Regents were closely engaged in the search, and the appointment will be included with the September board meeting information.
Chatas follows Kevin Hegarty, who retired from his position in April. Brian Smith, associate vice president for finance, has been serving as interim.
According to Georgetown University, Chatas’ grandparents immigrated to the United States from Greece in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. “They came to U.S. penniless, with no education past the 8th grade, settled in Michigan and did what all Greeks do, opened diners and candy shops, and achieved the American dream,” Chatas said in 2018.
His father is a doctor, and his mother is one of five girls sent by her own father to the University of Michigan to earn advanced degrees at a time when that was a rare achievement. She went on to teach kindergarten for 30 years. One of Chatas’ aunts, Georgia Shambes, is a prominent neurophysiologist who made important discoveries about the function of the cerebellum.
“I’m excited that Mr. Chatas will lead our Business and Finance organization and advise the board and me as we meet the continued challenges of providing opportunities to our students and supporting our work on society’s most pressing problems,” Schlissel said. “His depth of experience and proven skills make him ideally suited for the responsibilities of executive vice president and chief financial officer.”
He will serve as one of three executive vice presidents reporting to the university president and will serve as the president’s chief adviser on financial matters.
As executive vice president and chief financial officer, he will lead U-M’s 45 business and finance organizations, including the university’s investments, finance, facilities and operations, and human resources.
“I am looking forward to joining President Schlissel and the Business and Finance team at the University of Michigan,” Chatas said. “I am excited about the great work ahead as we position the university for continued prominence and leadership in higher education.”
Chatas has served as senior vice president and chief operating officer for Georgetown University in Washington, DC, since 2018. In this role, he is responsible for a budget of $1.3 billion and more than 3,000 staff members. He oversees the finance function, endowment investment office, facilities management, human resources, chief health officer, corporate partnerships and auxiliary services.
While at Georgetown, Chatas served as the chair of the Executive Leadership Committee, co-chaired a health sciences strategic review and led planning for a new downtown Washington, DC, campus.
“I am thrilled to have someone with the experience in higher education, along with the talent and vision that Mr. Chatas possesses,” said Jordan Acker, chair of the U-M Board of Regents. “The board looks forward to working with him and welcoming him back to Ann Arbor.”
From 2010-18, he served as the senior vice president for business and finance and chief financial officer for The Ohio State University (OSU), overseeing a $6 billion budget and an organization of more than 2,000 staff members.
While at OSU, he developed innovative financial structures to raise capital and created a successful private sector partnership on energy assets devising an approach that other higher education institutions have since emulated in their efforts to reduce carbon emissions and manage energy costs.
He also served in a chief transformation officer role at OSU’s Wexner Medical Center, focusing on integrating several organizations and functions and improving efficiencies from March to June 2015.
Prior to his career in higher education, Chatas served as managing director for the Infrastructure Investment Fund at JP Morgan Asset Management and served in various finance roles at Progress Energy Inc., American Electric Power, Banc One Capital Corp. and Citibank.
Among many volunteer and professional service activities, Chatas is the current co-chair of the Georgetown Community Partnership; is a member of the board of directors of the Worker Rights Consortium; and teaches finance at OSU. The Georgetown Community Partnership is a campus and community partnership focused on neighborhood quality of life and the WRC, of which U-M is a member organization, is an independent labor rights monitoring organization focused on the global supply chain for branded apparel.
Chatas, who grew up in Ann Arbor, received his Bachelor of Arts in history and economics from Georgetown University. He received a Master of Philosophy from Oxford University in history and an MBA from INSEAD, a nonprofit, private university with locations in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North America.