The Florida Board of Governors appointed real estate executive Mike Griffin chair of the University of South Florida’s Consolidation Planning Study and Implementation Task Force Thursday.
Griffin will replace Dr. Jonathan Ellen who resigned earlier this week from both the task force and as CEO of All Children’s Hospital.
The task force oversees recommendations for phasing out separate accreditations at USF St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee as the school moves toward a single accreditation.
“I have complete confidence that this task force will continue its forward momentum under Mike Griffin’s leadership,” said Ned Lautenbach, chair of the Board of Governors. “The State University System remains committed to a seamless consolidation for USF and its students.”
Griffin, former chair of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and the USF alumni associated, was appointed to the consolidation task force when it was established earlier this year, and has served as chair of the task force subcommittee on student success, academic programs and campus identity. He is senior managing director for Savills Studley Occupier Services.
“USF is an incredible asset to the Tampa Bay region that will only become stronger through the consolidation process,” Griffin said. “Our task force has already spent countless hours listening to the university community, gathering public input and exchanging ideas with local leaders. We have built great momentum and I look forward to finalizing our recommendations soon.”
Task force leadership had been up in the air this week after Ellen’s abrupt resignation from both of his leadership roles at USF and All Children’s Hospital. Ellen resigned amid controversy surrounding reports that the children’s hospital had provided negligent care to heart patients that led to an unusually high death rate – the highest in Florida in 2017 – and some cases that left children permanently disabled after avoidable surgical complications.
Griffin resigned his own board position on Port Tampa Bay earlier this year to focus efforts on USF.
“Mike is a proven leader with a well-established record of achievements across the entire Tampa Bay region and the state of Florida. He is the ideal person to chair the task force as they complete their recommendations,” said USF Board of Trustees Chair Brian Lamb.
In addition to Griffin’s new leadership appointment, Lamb appointed Debbie Sembler to the task force to fill Ellen’s vacant seat.
“As a former trustee and campus board chair, [Sembler] brings tremendous knowledge, experience and perspective to this role,” Lamb said.
Florida law requires the 13-member consolidation task force to submit its recommendations to the USF Board of Trustees by February 15, 2019. After considering the recommendations of the task force, the USF Board of Trustees must adopt and submit an implementation plan to the Board of Governors no later than March 15, 2019. The school must be fully integrated under one accreditation by July 1, 2020.