University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld has announced his retirement plans to the Iowa Board of Regents — three years earlier than when his contract was set to expire.
Harreld, a former IBM senior vice president, was unanimously appointed by the Regents in 2015 to serve as president of the state’s largest public university, despite criticism from faculty that the businessman lacked the qualifications to lead the university.
In an interview with the Daily Iowan, Board of Regents President Michael Richards said they were surprised by Harreld’s retirement announcement this year.
“It was a little bit of a surprise to us, in a heartfelt way,” Richards told the Daily Iowan. “He’s worked very hard and made a lot of significant changes at the university and improvements. I believe that he had been thinking about doing this, according to just talking with him, maybe next summer, but then he felt because of the COVID deal it might take a little longer than anticipated.”
Harreld told the Daily Iowan he won’t move to another job, since he will turn 70 this year.
“I have commitments to family and other folks that I need to live up to while I still can. I’ll turn 70 later this year, so I’m at the twilight end,” Harreld told the Daily Iowan. “I have some other personal commitments I need to live up to, but there’s not another job. I’m not going anyplace, and that’s part of the luxury of this, to do it this way.”
The Board of Regents approved a 50% salary cut for Harreld this year, in light of the financial constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic. Harreld’s salary in 2019 was $598.400.
The Regents announced they plan to have a new president in place by fall 2021 and will hire a search firm and hold open forums with finalists.