UCSF appoints new leader for finance and administration

By Kristen Bole on January 21, 2010

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has appointed a 30-year financial veteran to oversee the fiscal and operational management of the life sciences university. The appointment of John Plotts as UCSF senior vice chancellor for Finance and Administration was approved this morning by the UC Board of Regents.

Plotts’ financial and operations career includes roles in private industry and academia. Until this appointment, he has been assistant vice president of financial management at the UC Office of the President (UCOP), in Oakland, where he has served for 13 years. During that time, he worked closely with the UCSF campus on several key projects, including the financial arrangements for UCSF Medical Center during the process of demerger with Stanford, and the initial development of the UCSF Mission Bay campus.

“Mr. Plotts has extensive financial and operational experience, in addition to an in-depth knowledge of the University of California system, which made him a clear leader among a pool of stellar candidates for this position,” said Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, who launched the national search for the position when she arrived at UCSF in August. “I feel fortunate to have such ready access to this talent within our own UC system.”

Plotts said he was attracted to UCSF for its commitment to “absolute excellence” in research, education and clinical care, and for the chance to play a closer role in the success of the campus.

“I am very excited and proud to be joining an organization of such high caliber that contributes so much to the well-being of society,” Plotts said. “One thing I’ve learned at UC is that it’s the people who make UC great. I look forward to working closely with UCSF’s very talented and dedicated leadership, faculty, students and staff to make sure that our financial and administrative operations meet and support their level of excellence.”

During his tenure with UCOP, Plotts has been directly responsible for leading and implementing the financial and business strategies in the areas of financial accounting and reporting for the University, academic medical centers, endowments and investments. In that role, he also oversaw federal costing policy and overhead proposals, federal taxes, and employee benefits/retirement system financial services.

Broader responsibilities include interaction with all functional areas at UCOP, campuses, retirement system and campus foundations that require administrative or financial involvement related to non-routine business transactions entered into by the University.

Prior to his employment with the University of California, Plotts held a variety of financial and administrative positions in the retail industry, including senior vice president of administration for the Northern California Division of Lucky Stores, Inc., in Dublin. He also worked for the international accounting firm Price Waterhouse in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Plotts earned his B.S. in business administration and accounting from California State University, Chico, and is a certified public accountant. Plotts lives with his wife, Roxanne, in Pleasanton, where they raised two sons.

Desmond-Hellmann said the campus financial and administrative functions have been operating since mid-2008 with an interim organizational structure that temporarily divided responsibilities. With this appointment, these responsibilities will be united again under one senior leader.

As senior vice chancellor, Plotts will report directly to the chancellor. He will begin his new role as soon as possible, with consideration for a suitable transition at the Office of the President.

Plotts will receive a base salary of $350,000, with an additional 10 percent incentive potential based on meeting designated university performance expectations. The proposed salary is in alignment with senior leaders at UCSF. In addition, he is eligible for standard pension and health and welfare benefits for senior leadership.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.