Northern Illinois University President Douglas D. Baker has named an interim chief financial officer to oversee the university’s financial and budget matters while the university undertakes a national search for a CFO. Nancy Suttenfield will begin serving in this capacity on Tuesday.
“I am pleased to introduce Nancy Suttenfield to the NIU community as interim CFO,” said Baker. “Nancy is an innovative and accomplished chief financial officer with a blend of diverse management experiences in both public and private institutions. She has a strong record of transparency, inclusiveness and service orientation, and her collaborative leadership style is very well regarded.”
In this newly created position, Suttenfield will be responsible for oversight of NIU’s accounting, controller, budget and institutional research functions. She will work closely with vice president of administration Steven Cunningham, who recently served as acting executive vice president for Business and Finance and was instrumental in streamlining operations. His expertise in areas of state budget, employee pensions and university operations are highly regarded.
“I look forward to assisting Nancy in the transition of these important responsibilities,” said Cunningham. “NIU operates in an increasingly complex budgetary and regulatory environment, and given the state’s fiscal context, it is important to operate in an efficient manner to align resources in support of our university mission. This is one of President Baker’s major objectives – to align the budget process with strategic priorities.”
Currently, Suttenfield is a partner with the Blacksburg, Va. based Auxilium Group and director of Higher Education and Tax Exempt Services at Verity Asset Management in Durham, North Carolina. She brings more than 20 years of experience as a chief financial officer at leading national institutions of higher education—both public and private—as well as the not-for-profit sector.
From 2006-10, she served as senior vice president/CFO for Wake Forest University; from 2000-06, she was vice chancellor for Finance and Administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; from 1996-2000 she was vice president for Finance and Administration at Case Western Reserve University; and from 1990-1996 she served as assistant secretary for Finance and Administration at the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex.
In each of these positions, she had responsibility for financial strategy and planning, budget development and execution, resource management, systems and process enhancements, and communications to campus leadership, governing boards, ratings agencies, and federal, state and local government policy makers regarding complex financial matters.
At UNC-Chapel Hill, Suttenfield oversaw the successful planning, design, and construction of the nation’s largest capital improvement program for any institution of higher education, involving an investment of $2.1 billion in new and renovated facilities. At Wake Forest, she completed an extensive sensitivity analysis for major sources of revenue and expense to assist the university’s leadership in navigating through the recession. At Case Western Reserve, she led an overhaul of the tuition waiver benefit program in consultation with a faculty and staff benefits advisory committee.
“I’m looking forward to working with my new colleagues in the coming months as part of NIU’s strong leadership team,” Suttenfield said. “I love new challenges and managing change, so I believe this is going to be a great fit.”