LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- After his nearly year-and-a-half stint as interim president of the University of Louisville, Greg Postel is headed back to lead the school’s downtown health sciences campus as the school’s vice president for health affairs.
The U of L board of trustees on Thursday gave Postel the health affairs job on a permanent basis.
In elevating Postel, a 24-year U of L veteran, the board deviated from its standard practice of conducting national searches for high-level administrative vacancies.
Trustees chairman David Grissom said the departure was warranted because of “all the moving parts” on the health sciences campus for which Postel has been the university’s point-person in recent years.
That includes the pending sale of Jewish Hospital and the Frazier Rehabilitation Institute, both of which house many university medical programs.
“We need strong leadership and we have it in Dr. Postel – proven leadership – to address those problems,” Grissom told reporters following the meeting. “I think sometimes you just have to bite your lower lip and say, we are not going to do a national search here because our needs are current, they are right in front us and we have to address them.”
Postel, a medical doctor and former chairman of U of L’s radiology department, became the interim vice president for health affairs in 2015 and has continued in that role while serving as interim U of L president.
His $950,000 annual salary will remain unchanged, but the board on Thursday awarded him a $100,000 bonus “as a statement of its appreciation for a job well done” as interim president, a position Postel assumed in February 2017.
Postel’s contract is for one year beginning May 15 – the same day that Neeli Bendapudi takes over as U of L president. After May 15, 2019, Postel becomes an at-will employee.
Postel led U of L during one of most tumultuous times in its history.
Gov. Matt Bevin installed an entirely new board of trustees. The university faced an unprecedented level of high-level vacancies following the hasty end to James Ramsey's tenure as president in 2016 and the departure of former Provost Neville Pinto to lead the University of Cincinnati.
The university's accrediting agency placed U of L on probation -- a move that threatened the existence of the institution.
And, a new scandal in the men's basketball program led to the firings of longtime athletics director Tom Jurich and head coach Rick Pitino.
"I couldn't have picked a worse 15 months in terms of terrible things that were going on," Postel told the board of trustees on Thursday. "But having been here 24 years, it was an opportunity to jump in and start a process that was long overdue for the University of Louisville in terms of cleaning some things up, putting some things back on track and looking forward to a brighter future."