Phillips named vice president of Administration and Finance

Alan D. Phillips
Alan D. Phillips

Northern Illinois University announced today the selection of Alan D. Phillips as vice president of Administration and Finance, reporting to NIU President Douglas D. Baker as a member of the university’s senior leadership team. The appointment is subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees of Northern Illinois University and is scheduled to begin March 1, 2015.

“It is an exciting time to be at NIU, and with my background and experience, I believe I will be able to help contribute to NIU’s continuing success,” said the 59-year-old Phillips, who will join NIU after serving the past three years at the Illinois Board of Higher Education, most recently as the executive deputy director.

“We are delighted to have an accomplished higher education finance officer with a strong resource management background to lead NIU’s financial and operational efforts,” Baker said. “Al is a strong collaborator with a track record of effectively directing the academic and business operations for complex academic organizations during challenging fiscal times.”

Phillips stood out among a strong group of candidates thanks to his proven track record of consistent higher education achievement. His accomplishments include addressing fiscal challenges; implementing strategic initiatives; building government, corporate and academic relationships and alliances; leading organizations through extensive change efforts; and overseeing all aspects of the day-to-day operations of large and complex academic and business organizations.

“You really don’t talk about ‘replacing’ a person like Al. However, we are glad he will still be in Illinois working with President Baker to advance the good work at NIU serving the state of Illinois, and we look forward to partnering with NIU in that effort,” said IBHE Executive Director James Applegate. “He has been an invaluable colleague and friend.”

Phillips has served the IBHE since 2011, first as deputy director for Fiscal Policy, Budgeting, Grants, Institutional Research and Information Technology before assuming the post of executive deputy director, where he was chief financial officer for Illinois’ higher education board, which is responsible for fiscal policy and budget recommendations for the $2 billion public higher education system as well as private institutions totaling approximately 500 colleges, universities and other higher education institutions that operate in the state of Illinois.

From 2009-11, Phillips was CFO and vice president of Administrative Services at Kaskaskia College, where he was responsible for the management and oversight of all financial plans and budgets; management of college funds and investments; procurement and inventory management; investment management; strategic planning and institutional research, grants, auxiliary services, information technology, the physical plant, building and construction projects.

Originally from Salem, Ill., Phillips served for more than 35 years in a wide variety of leadership and senior executive positions within the federal government before working as a college administrator and joining the IBHE.  Prior to leaving government service, he served as the deputy chief of staff and chief operating officer for a major Army command where he was responsible for the day to day operations of the organization responsible for the recruitment and training of more than 180,000 enlisted soldiers and junior officers each year.

“I am honored to have been selected for the position and am eager to join the NIU family,” Phillips said, noting that in his interactions through the IBHE, he has found NIU employees to be professional, capable, dedicated and committed to helping ensure student success. “I have been very impressed with NIU’s accomplishments under President Baker’s leadership, and I was very interested in the vice president position because it would provide me with the opportunity to work with a truly exceptional group of individuals—people who are making a positive difference in the lives of students.”

Phillips, who is a Harvard University senior executive fellow, earned his bachelor’s degree at the United States Military Academy and later earned his MBA at the College of William and Mary. He earned a Doctor of Education in higher education administration from George Washington University.

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