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Julio Frenk, University of Miami president, leaving to serve as next UCLA chancellor

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MIAMI — Julio Frenk, who has served as the president of the University of Miami for the past nine years, is leaving to serve as the next chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles, the South Florida university announced Wednesday.

Frenk will begin his new role at UCLA on Jan. 1, 2025, and the UM Board of Trustees has selected Chief Executive Officer Joe Echevarria to serve as acting president, effective immediately.

"In his nine years at the U, Julio led us through some of the most consequential moments in our history," said Manny Kadre, the chair of the Board, in the statement shared on X. "He helped guide the University through unprecedented challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and empowered our students, faculty, and staff to achieve excellence in every area-education, research, patient care, and service to society. Our health system has achieved a dramatic turnaround."

"The U's ascension to the Association of American Universities last year confirmed our position as one of the premier research universities in the country," he added. "We made historic investments to manage through significant-and ongoing-changes in intercollegiate athletics. We have continued to attract the best and brightest minds to partner with our community on pressing challenges from sustainability to cancer."

Frenk's tenure as UM president was marked by "resilience, vision, and an innovative management model that allowed us to attain remarkable results for our students, patients, and community," Kadre said.

Frenk will be on a sabbatical from UM starting Wednesday to focus on his transition to UCLA, Kadre noted.

In a statement to CBS News Los Angeles, Frenk said that he is optimistic of the opportunity.

"At this crucial moment for higher education, returning to the public sector to lead one of the top research universities in the world —
including one of the 10 largest academic health systems — is an exciting opportunity and a great honor for me," he said. "I look forward to adding my lifelong commitment to public service in education and health care to the vibrant, diverse, and cosmopolitan community that is Los Angeles."

Frenk was UM's first Hispanic and native-Spanish speaking president, and he will also be the first Latino to lead UCLA.

As the university bid farewell to Frenk, Kadre also announced Echevarria stepping in his place and highlighted his career.

"Joe has served as Julio's very capable partner for the past four years — first as CEO of UHealth and for the past two years as CEO of our entire institution," he said. "Joe is a proud alumnus and a proven and accomplished leader whose deep commitment to our academic mission has enabled much of our recent success, with clear strategy and focused execution of our education, research, and health care missions."

"Those of you who have worked with Joe know that his gift for asking the right questions, empowering talented professionals, and insisting on accountability is precisely the steady leadership we need to persist on our journey of continuous improvement," Kadre added.

Kadre also assured that the Board of Trustees was committed to ensuring an "orderly leadership transition" as UM moves through the transition over the next several months as they begin to initiate the process of finding the next university president.

"As we approach our second century, we are mindful of our responsibility to not only maintain but also advance our leadership in all areas, and to continue the remarkable ascent of a university that has achieved so much in such a short time," he said. "On behalf of the entire University of Miami Board of Trustees, please join me in wishing Julio the very best as he prepares to take the helm at UCLA and thanking Joe for his willingness to serve the U again at this crucial moment."

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