Message From VC Wilton Announcing Departure

January 26, 2016

On January 11, 2016, Vice Chancellor Wilton sent the email below to administration and finance colleagues to announce that he will be stepping down from his position towards the end of February 

Dear administration and finance colleagues,

It is with mixed emotions that I am writing to inform you that I have decided to step down from my position as Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance at UC Berkeley towards the end of February.  I will be returning to work primarily in the investment and finance industry, but hope to remain engaged in other public service-related activities. I want to take this moment to share the news with you first and personally thank you, the staff in VCAF, for your efforts to ensure Berkeley continues to be the best public university in the world.

It has been an immense honor and a privilege to partner with you during this time of extraordinary challenge, change, and opportunity.  As I reflect on our past five years together, I couldn’t be more proud of everything we have done to build a foundation for Berkeley’s future. This ranged from creating a campus-wide financial model that enabled us to provide financial projections to clearly illustrate the impact of different revenue and cost scenarios, to moving the campus away from incremental budgeting and towards an “all funds” view of our financials.  These innovations, plus others such as Cal Answers and the new Contracts and Grants system, provide a clearer line of sight into the strategic trade-offs that are required at both the campus and unit level to move Berkeley towards a more sustainable future. We have also made real progress in transforming the budget process for both academic and non-academic units and made measurable progress in how the campus manages and allocates its resources. 

Through initiatives such as Operational Excellence (OE), The University Partnership Program (UPP), and the Berkeley Resource Center for Online Education (BRCOE), we have begun to establish innovative ways for the campus to generate new net revenue that can be used to support our core mission of teaching and research. UPP has already shown what a difference it can make if one looks beyond narrow organizational silos and truly puts the university first. We have also transformed Berkeley’s Real Estate function to create the conditions for the campus to improve and expand its infrastructure through new partnerships and funding models, although obstacles remain if we are to realize the full potential of these changes. 

In addition, we have engaged in efforts to improve our organizational structure and streamline operations through multiple OE projects and end-to-end business process improvement projects.  We have made significant progress in reorganizing HR around a more client-focused approach and our IT department is in the midst of implementing a comprehensive strategic plan that will make a real difference. Similar very positive changes have been made in our Police Department.

While these examples only scratch the surface in terms of your accomplishments, I truly believe that it’s hard working, dedicated staff like you who make it possible for Berkeley to deliver on its important teaching and research mission every single day.

In closing, I’d like to thank you for partnering with me in the spirit of continuous improvement to ensure Berkeley remains on the leading edge of higher education.  I’d especially like to thank you for tackling challenges head on, helping to create a culture of “positive candor,” seizing new opportunities, and for collaborating in new ways. I am grateful for all of your support and I am confident that we have a strong leadership team in place to ensure VCAF’s important work continues.  The Chancellor will have more to say about specific steps he will take in terms of the transition in the fullness of time, but meanwhile, I want to express my deep appreciation.  I continue to believe strongly in Berkeley’s mission, values, and purpose and it will always hold a special place in my heart.


John Wilton
Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance

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