Julio Frenk steps down, CEO of UM to become acting president

This story was last updated at 4:09 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12.

Julio Frenk is leaving his post as president of the University of Miami effective today. UM CEO Joe Echevarria will be serving as the acting president of the University of Miami, as chosen by UM’s Board of Trustees. Frenk will take on a role as chancellor at the University of California, Los Angeles beginning Jan. 1, 2025.

The Board of Trustees will be working with the faculty senate through the next several months to identify the next president of UM.

“At this key juncture, we are especially grateful for the constructive partnership we have built with the Faculty Senate,” said Manny Kadre, the chair of UM’s Board of Trustees, in a statement from UM communications.

The chair of the faculty senate, JoNel Newman, reported that the University community, faculty, staff and trustees were unaware of Frenk’s departure until it was announced by UCLA due to the strict procedures of choosing UCLA’s chancellor.

“Protocol concerns stemming from the University of California Board of Regents processes required that President Frenk’s appointment be kept in strict confidence until the Board of Regents met today. Thus, this announcement has come as a surprise to almost everyone in our University community, Faculty, Staff, Trustees and Alumni alike,” Newman said.

Throughout Frenk’s tenure, he led the university through the COVID-19 pandemic, a $2.5 billion fundraising campaign and a campaign to make UM a force throughout the western hemisphere. Also during his administration, students protested over the rights of janitorial workers, COVID-19 policies and most recently held vigils and teach-ins regarding the war in Gaza. Frenk’s role as chancellor at UCLA is effectively that of president, making him the senior official at the university.

Frenk will however be taking a $700,000 pay cut from his last reported salary at UM of $1,685,829, a nearly 40% decrease. He will be making $978,904 per the LA Times.

Through the past few months, UCLA saw some of the most intense ongoing campus protests across the country, which saw widespread encampments and violent attacks from counter protesters.

“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,” Frenk said in a statement released by UCLA.

Frenk’s move to UCLA means his university policies will now be beholden to the oversight of the state of California. While heading UM, Frenk notably allowed his administration to maintain policies that were banned at public Florida universities, such as having DEI positions. Transitioning to a public university will also mean more significant financing from the state.

“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.”

Echevarria was the former CEO of the vast UHealth network before he was brought into the role of UM’s CEO as a whole, an exceedingly rare role for an educational institution as most schools have the president assume the responsibility of a CEO. The position was created for Echevarria in April 2022.

“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,” Kadre said.

Echevarria will continue serving in his role as CEO of UM as well.