Senior vice president and chief financial officer Geoff Chatas will be leaving Ohio State later this year to pursue another job opportunity at the investment firm that financed the privatization of OSU’s parking facilities, the university announced Wednesday.
Chatas has accepted an opportunity with QIC Global Infrastructure, an investment firm based in Australia. Chatas will lead QIC’s infrastructure business in North America, according to a university press release.
In 2012, under Chatas’ leadership, OSU entered into a 50-year, $483 million partnership with QIC, which leased the university’s parking assets to the company.
Although the university and QIC have this standing partnership, Chatas’ new job will include him managing a new fund unrelated to the OSU parking lease, the release said, adding that Chatas “will not be involved in any aspect of the parking lease.”
Chatas has served as OSU’s CFO for five years — he has received praise from Ohio Gov. John Kasich for his efforts to lower operating costs at the university by entering into private contracts with companies like Nike, Coca-Cola, J. America, Huntington, Lids Sports Group and QIC.
Prior to coming to OSU as CFO and senior vice president in 2010, Chatas worked for AEP Texas Central Transition Funding LLC.
Chatas’ decision to leave the university comes after he said in January that he would stay in the position of CFO, despite an announcement in February 2014 that he would be taking on a new role at the Wexner Medical Center.
In February, Chatas was appointed by Kasich to serve as chairman of the Ohio Task Force on Affordability and Efficiency in Higher Education, a group made up of nine members who have been asked to examine ways for Ohio’s public colleges and universities to hold down costs.
In a statement included in the release, Chatas said he has viewed his time at OSU as “a distinct privilege.”
“My time here has been both meaningful and exciting, and I am confident the university is at a great moment in its remarkable history,” he said.
During his tenure, Chatas did receive criticism from interim president Joseph Alutto.
In a performance review from September 2013, Alutto criticized Chatas, saying Chatas needed to create a more pleasant work environment. He said if Chatas forced changes his team couldn’t handle, it could “cripple the university” in the long term.
Alutto also wrote that Chatas needed to focus on his “own personal and professional development” as well, noting how Chatas was quick to “point out the shortcomings” of peers, as well as other individuals across campus.
University President Michael Drake said in the release that he thinks Chatas’ work has put the university in “a strong financial position.”
“Geoff has challenged Ohio State to look at many of our resources in a new way, all for the benefit of our faculty, students and staff in support of our academic mission,” he said.
Editor’s note: This story was updated on March 20 to include additional comments from Geoff Chatas.