Ohio University’s Top Financial Officer Announces Retirement

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — The leadership shakeup at Ohio University university continued Tuesday as its top financial officer announced she is retiring.

Deb Shaffer, who as senior vice president for finance and administration has overseen the university’s efforts to balance its budget in the face of sharply declining enrollment, will step down in August.

Deborah Shaffer
[Photo courtesy of Ohio University]
Shaffer’s announcement came one day after Hugh Sherman took over as president of Ohio University following Duane Nellis’ decision last month to step down as president two years early.

Starting Aug. 20, Shaffer will transition into a one-year term as special consultant to the president.

“I am pleased that Deb has agreed to serve in this capacity to provide advisory support and guidance as we work to balance and stabilize our budget in the coming year and look forward to working with her in this new capacity,” Sherman said in a prepared statement.

The university said it will announce transition plans for interim leadership for the Division of Finance and Administration in the coming weeks.

Shaffer, who joined the university in 2013, has become a lightning rod for criticism as the university has struggled to address its chronic budget deficits. This was especially the case after she was awarded a $100,000 retention bonus last summer, two months after hundreds of university employees were laid off.

The bonus was part of her employment contract. Shaffer is one of the highest-paid employees at the university, with a base salary of $327,726. She was scheduled to receive another $100,000 retention bonus in 2023.

“I look forward to working with President Sherman in the coming year as the university works to refine its financial strategy and remain committed to supporting this transition for the success of the university and the Finance and Administration Division,” Shaffer said in a prepared statement.