Kristina Johnson, the president of Ohio State University, is stepping down. Johnson announced Monday night that she would step down as president in May 2023, after the current academic year. Her agreement was scheduled to end in August 2025.
According to a source who spoke to NBC4, Johnson was expected to announce her resignation on Tuesday as a result of a request from the university’s board of trustees. Johnson is said to have had a tense relationship with many board members.
According to a source, Johnson was the focus of an inquiry by an independent company after staff members complained about her. According to additional sources, Johnson is being held personally accountable for at least two high-ranking university officials’ departures.
Tuesday afternoon is set aside for Johnson and her wife to hold their yearly holiday party. Johnson said in her statement, “I have made the difficult choice to step down as president following commencement at the conclusion of the academic year. “This will give me enough time for me to help with a smooth transition while also enabling the hunt for the next president to get forward.”
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She was recognized for her work throughout her tenure by Dr. Hiroyuki Fujita, chairman of the university board of trustees, who is quoted in Johnson’s announcement. Dr. Johnson’s commitment to the university, particularly her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, is acknowledged by the whole Board of Trustees, Fujita added.
MORE OSU: The board was aware of President Johnson’s intent to leave the university in advance of the November board meeting and therefore an annual review was not completed. 2/2
— Clay Hall (@claywsyx6) November 29, 2022
We congratulate her on all of her accomplishments and wish her the best of luck in all of her future endeavors. The provisions of Johnson’s contract specify what would happen if she were fired, either for good reason or bad. However, it is unclear exactly what will happen after Johnson resigns.
Johnson was the chancellor of the State University of New York when Ohio State chose her to become the school’s 16th president in June 2020. Michael Drake, a former president of Ohio State who served for five years, announced his retirement in November 2019 and was later chosen the 21st president of the University of California in July 2020.
At the time of Dr. Johnson’s employment, then-Board of Trustees Chairman Gary R. Heminger said, “We are beyond delighted to welcome Dr. Johnson to Ohio State. Her breadth of expertise, breadth of service, and breadth of accomplishments over the course of her career are nothing short of astounding.
Johnson will have completed two and a half of her five-year term, making it the second-shortest presidency in history after Walter Scott, who held office from 1881 to 1883. Johnson received more than $1.4 million in compensation, which included a $900,000 basic salary, bonuses, and additional benefits.
Johnson was promised an $85,000 fringe benefit allowance, a $200,000 annual retirement plan contribution, $35,000 for relocating expenses, and membership in two social clubs in her initial offer letter. She also had the choice of staying at the institution and becoming a renowned professor.
Johnson and her wife were also qualified for lifetime access to the Wexner Medical Center Executive Health Program’s medical services as well as lifetime ticket eligibility for men’s basketball and football games.
When she was hired, Johnson referred to the organization as “standing as one of the most prestigious teaching, research, and patient-care institutes in the world.” I am honored to have been chosen to head this outstanding land-grant university, and I am looking forward to meeting with the faculty, staff, and students to start working with them.
Johnson is an engineer and inventor who served as the U.S. Department of Energy’s undersecretary under the Obama administration. She received her doctorate from Stanford, and advocates for women in leadership positions in STEM education. There are currently 67,772 students enrolled at the university overall, including 61,677 on the Columbus campus.