The University of Colorado Board of Regents voted unanimously Tuesday to name Todd Saliman, a longtime CU executive and former state official, to serve as the university system's interim president, a CU spokesman said.
Saliman, a Colorado native and CU alumnus, is set to take over on July 1 from departing president Mark Kennedy, who announced last month that he was leaving the post he's held for two years.
The regents are preparing to conduct a national search to find a permanent president, a process that could take until next spring. Saliman won't be applying for the permanent position, a CU spokesman said.
Saliman is CU's senior vice president for strategy, government relations and chief financial officer in system administration. He's worked at the university since 2011. Before that, he was state budget director under Gov. Bill Ritter and a senior advisor to Gov. John Hickenlooper.
He served eight years in the Colorado General Assembly from 1995 to 2002, including four years on the Joint Budget Committee. Saliman also owned a lobbying firm that represented organizations and government entities, including CU.
“Todd is a valued and respected member of the university community who has a sound understanding of the issues it faces,” Board of Regents Chairman Glen Gallegos said in a statement. “He was the unanimous choice of the Board of Regents and we look forward to working with him to continue CU’s momentum and upward trajectory.
“His appointment will provide important continuity in some of our key initiatives, including strategic planning, online education and the fall return to on-campus teaching and learning."
Said Saliman: “I look forward to continuing to work with the board and my colleagues at CU system administration and on our campuses to ensure that CU continues to advance its mission to serve our students and state."
Praise for the choice came in from across the state's political spectrum.
U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, a Lafayette Democrat and former CU regent, congratulated his friend in a statement.
“As a former CU regent, I have seen the hard work and expertise it takes to lead this university, and having worked with Todd for many years, I know he has the leadership and experience it takes to guide us through this transition.”
“Todd’s commitment to public service in Colorado, his deep understanding of state budget and the importance of investment into higher education will serve the institution well in this role,” said Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert, a Parker Republican.
Kennedy offered support for his successor.
"Todd Saliman and I have worked together to a great extent, and he has been an integral part of CU’s success in recent years," he said in a statement. "Todd has a wide variety of skills and relationships that will help him be successful in the position. I will work closely with him to ensure a smooth transition."
Regents on May 19 approved a $1.36 million payment lump-sum payment to Kennedy, whose early exit, two years into a three-year contract, was described as a mutual decision with the regents.