Heller named vice chancellor for finance and administration
Laurent Heller has been named UW–Madison’s vice chancellor for finance and administration.
Heller is assistant vice chancellor, financial planning and analysis, at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to that role he served in multiple key administrative roles there, including director of the campus budget office and director of strategy and analysis for the Law School.
Currently, he is directing financial planning and analysis functions for Cal and its $2.5 billion operating budget. He also directs and coordinates the activities of the Campus Budget Office, as well as the campus’s institutional research and reporting systems departments.
“Laurent emerged from an impressive field of candidates due to his strong analytical skills, commitment to public research universities, and experience crafting and implementing innovative budget ideas at the University of California, Berkeley,” says Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “I look forward to having his vision and energy on campus.”
“I’m deeply honored to have this opportunity to contribute to what is obviously a special community of dedicated faculty, staff and students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison,” says Heller. “I’ve spent some time on campus over this last year and have been deeply impressed by the university and the people I’ve met so far. I look forward to working with the community to advance the Wisconsin Idea in the years ahead.”
UW-Madison’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration is responsible for the overall supervision of the university’s financial and administrative functions, including budget, facilities planning, business services and some student services.
Heller is expected to arrive on campus Aug. 15.
He will succeed Michael Lehman, who has served in an interim role since Darrell Bazzell left in March after serving as UW–Madison’s chief financial and administrative officer since 2003.
“I’ve spent some time on campus over this last year and have been deeply impressed by the university and the people I’ve met so far. I look forward to working with the community to advance the Wisconsin Idea in the years ahead.”
Heller describes himself as a creative problem solver with deep experience innovating in the areas of financial management, academic strategy and enterprise systems within shared governance environments.
At Cal, he directed implementation of the campus’s new budget system, worked on its first medium‐term strategic financial plan, and helped lead an effort to reform the Law School’s financial aid policies and programs. He is currently serving as the project lead for the campus’s Finance Reform Project, which aims to install a new and transparent budget model to help improve incentives for units to increase revenues and control expenses while providing adequate strategic funding for shared campus investments and support of the common good.
Heller began his career in higher education at Harvard University, where he worked in IT and finance roles for the Civil Rights Project, a multidisciplinary think tank that connects social science research with policy advocacy to advance the interests of diversity and inclusion.
UW-Madison’s 14-member search and screen committee was chaired by Terry Warfield, PwC Professor in Accounting and chair of the Department of Accounting and Information Systems in the Wisconsin School of Business. Heller was one of four finalists.
Originally from Lawrence, Kansas, he attended Cal as an undergraduate, earning a BA in economics. Outside of his university role, Heller can often be found hiking, motorcycling and digging through used record bins in search of rare vinyl records.
His partner, Nandini Pandey, is an assistant professor of classics at UW–Madison.