Former chairman of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees, Peter Kiernan announced his resignation Thursday afternoon in the aftermath of Sullivan’s resignation. Below is the full text of his public letter, followed by the leaked email that sparked the questioning of Kiernan’s involvement.
“June 14, 2012
To the U.Va. Community,
As someone who has profound respect and love for the University of Virginia, I write to apologize for my role in further complicating the already difficult situation after Teresa Sullivan’s resignation as president.
The content of my e-mail sent to the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees on Sunday, June 10, was confusing at a critical moment for the University and unfairly associated the Darden School with a situation in which it was not involved. No one from Darden — not the dean, nor the faculty, nor the administration, nor the Foundation board — was involved. The conversations about President Sullivan’s transition that I referred to in my e-mail were conducted through my own personal relationships and not in any official capacity.
So that my actions do not further impact Darden or the University community, I am stepping down as chair of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees and resigning from the board.
Exceptional work is happening at Darden and across the University. As evidenced in recent days, people across the community care deeply about this University and will no doubt ensure that U.Va.’s future will be as strong as its past. Once again, I apologize to Dean Bruner, and to all of my friends, colleagues and professors at the Darden School and the University of Virginia who have been affected by my actions.
Peter D. Kiernan”
“From: [Peter Kiernan’s email address]
Sent: Sunday, June 10, 2012 7:56 PM
Subject: Re: Terry Sullivan’s Departure
I am writing to tell those of you that have not yet heard that [University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan] will be stepping down this August 15th from her role of President of the University.
There are many questions that you all have posed and I hope I can answer most of them here. Suffice it to say you may contact me any time for additional color and comment if these remarks leave you with more questions.
Might I start out by saying what a decent and thoroughly pleasurable partner Terry has been to Bob Bruner, to me and to Darden ? Numerous members of the Darden Foundation Board have had terrific interactions with Terry in the last two years. I know Phil ,Henry, and John will echo my enthusiasm
We are also fortunate to have [Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer] Michael Strine and [Provost John Simon] serving the University in a leadership role. We have never had a deeper bench of leadership talent at the University. And we all know how effective Michael has been in helping both our Foundation and Darden School deliberations.
The decision of the Board Of Visitors to move in another direction stems from their concern that the governance of the University was not sufficiently tuned to the dramatic changes we all face: funding, internet ,technology advances, the new economic model. These are matters for strategic dynamism rather than strategic planning. Many of the schools will face the notion of self sufficiency, steps that we at Darden and others have taken already.
Lest we feel immune, Darden will face technology and other challenges in the coming years. Change will be big, certain and the Board of Visitors is looking beyond incremental steps to address these challenges.
Terry’s role will be filled for an interim period by our very deep bench of talent. I have mentioned John and Michael already. And you should be comforted by the fact that both the Rector and Vice Rector, Helen Dragas and Mark Kington are Darden alums.
Trust me , Helen has things well in hand.
In very short order an interim President will be identified and a search process will commence for a replacement for Terry. There will also be a strategic planning initiative commenced by the Board of Visitors with a focus on strategic dynamism.
A number of you have asked if we were surprised by this announcement. Here is the truth. Several weeks ago I was contacted by two important Virginia alums about working with Helen Dragas on this project, particularly from the standpoint of the search process and the strategic dynamism effort. It pained me to keep this information from you and from Bob, but I was sworn top keep the process confidential.
Because Terry Sullivan has been such a supporter of Darden, I kept the confidence as Helen requested. I can promise you after numerous discussions with Helen, that she has been extremely thoughtful and careful in this process, with an especial eye for treating Terry with the utmost respect.
Everyone involved has been a class act. And though the decisions have been difficult and painful ones, the unswerving dedication to keeping Virginia as stable as possible through this challenging times has been paramount.
As you might expect, the decisions involving my modest role in all of this have not been entirely mine to make. As many of you know no major decision of this kind can be made at Virginia without the support and assent of the Governor. I am not sure what my future role in this process will be. Those are the facts.
We are blessed by sound leaders and compassionate ones. This difficult decision and the aftermath will be handled as professionally as possible. Darden continues its path own excellence because we are so ably led by Bob Bruner and an outstanding Foundation Board…all of you. We are also helped by an increasingly engaged Alumni Board,Corporate Advisory Board and Global Advisory Board. My sincerest hope is that the intrusion on our lives will be minimal and that Darden’s path of excellence will remain clear.
Thanks to all of you for all of the time and energy you volunteer so willingly. Darden’s greatness is reflected in all of you.
Please do not hesitate to be in touch with any questions.