Georgia Board of Regents to restart chancellor search process

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University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley, seated, gets a standing ovation from state Board of Regents members and staff during his final scheduled meeting as chancellor on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Wrigley plans to retire at the end of June. ERIC STIRGUS/ESTIRGUS@AJC.COM.

The state Board of Regents said Tuesday it will begin the process of finding a new firm to conduct its search for the next University System of Georgia chancellor after the company previously hired decided last week not to continue its work.

The 19-member board also said it would appoint an acting chancellor if no candidate for the position is selected by June 30, the date current chancellor, Steve Wrigley, is set to retire.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported in March that some board members wanted to put former Gov. Sonny Perdue in the job of leading the public university system, one of most influential jobs in state government. Many students and faculty pushed back against the idea, noting Perdue has no experience in higher education leadership. The AJC has reported there wasn’t yet enough support among the Regents to tap Perdue for the post.

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ExploreSearch firm quits in hunt for new Georgia higher ed chancellor

Parker Executive Search, which was hired to conduct a national search for the system’s chancellor, wrote in an email to Wrigley last week that “misinformation throughout the search no longer allows us to fulfill our obligation, and it is with great disappointment we resign from the Chancellor search going forward.” The email did not elaborate on what was the misinformation and said it would not publicly discuss its work.

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Board members spent nearly three hours behind closed doors on personnel and legal matters Tuesday before returning to their seats as staff read a resolution discussing their plan. They did not discuss their decision after the resolution was read and ended the meeting congratulating Wrigley for 36 years of work in state government. The board earlier during the meeting played video tributes to Wrigley from student government leaders, university presidents and Gov. Brian Kemp.

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Wrigley credited others for the accolades.

“You cannot rely on any success in life without having a team of people and family and many others,” he said.

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