LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Harlan Sands, the University of Louisville’s chief financial and operations officer, will leave the university early next year after two years on the job.

Sands has accepted a position as vice dean of finance and administration at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, according to information from U of L.

Sands’ departure, scheduled for Jan. 6, comes at a time when the university faces big financial challenges and a lack of permanent leaders at the top.

Acting President Neville Pinto was elevated from his position as interim provost in July, facilitating the hiring of another temporary provost, or chief academic officer.

“Though Harlan’s departure will be a loss for the university and our community, we are happy for he and his family that he has been recruited for this unique opportunity,” Pinto said in an emailed statement. “Over the past two years, Harlan has provided strong financial and operational leadership at a critical juncture for the university.”

Sands, who is also U of L’s senior vice president for finance and administration, said in a text message Friday that the Wharton job is a "great opportunity."

He also sent a copy of his resignation letter, which says it was a "difficult decision" and he is "committed to ensuring a smooth transition." (Read the letter below this story).

Sands joined U of L in January 2015, with responsibility for “university-wide day-to-day operations related to financial affairs, business affairs, human resources, information technology, internal audit/institutional compliance, and other campus operations,” according to his resume.

Sands will return to the school where he earned an undergraduate degree in economics, according to his resume. He also a master’s degree in business and a law degree.

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