April 5, 2004

Chief Financial Officer Craft Retires From Post

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The search for the successor of Harold “Hal” Craft ’61 as Cornell’s Chief Financial Officer is now in its “early stages,” according to President Jeffrey Lehman ’77. Craft will continue in this role until a candidate is chosen, probably sometime early next fall.

Craft, who will stay on as vice-president of the University a while longer, said that his time as CFO has “been a really wonderful and enriching experience.”

Craft said that he plans to retire from Cornell by Summer ’05. Soon after Lehman’s taking the position, Craft says that they talked and decided to start the search after the new president was settled in enough to spend time on the search.

“He needed to build a long-term team as quickly as he could after he got here and I’m clearly not part of that team,” Craft said. “So he and I agreed that, as soon as he was ready after he got here, he would do that in a timely manner.”

Craft, whose served as CFO since February 2000, has been on Cornell staff in some capacity since ’71. Other positions he has held include director of the Arecibo Radio Telescope, director of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, and associate vice president for Facilities and Business Operations.

Craft says that, after Cornell, he is uncertain of any plans. “I’ve got 18 months to figure that out,” he said, referring to his Summer ’05 goal.

“There is some sailing I want to do,” he added.

About retiring from the University, he said that it was a new experience to realize he will not see many of his projects completed. “I’m not going to be here forever,” he said. “Some of these long range projects that I’m involved in, I’m not going to see them finished.” In all, however, he said he feels satisfied with the job that he’s done and the programs he has left behind.

“I feel good about a number of facilities projects, about some of the changes in the financial arrangements in the University,” he said. “I feel good about some of the staff training and awareness programs that we’ve created here.” He also cited several environmental programs that he was able to help start as highlights, including Cornell’s compliance with Kyoto emission guidelines and the Lake Source Cooling Project.

“I’ve had a wonderful time here; I’ve been all over the place. It’s been fascinating and rewarding,” he said.

On the search for next CFO, Lehman said that a search consulting firm has been hired and interest is high amongst many “very highly qualified people.”

“I expect that the process will continue throughout the summer, and I hope to have it wrapped up by early fall,” Lehman said.

Archived article by Michael Morisy
Sun Staff Writer