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Allison Baird-James begins tenure as new CFO, interim vice chancellor

Allison Baird-James (pictured) will be the next chief financial officer of UCLA. (Courtesy of Ricardo Vazquez)

By Clara Schwartz

April 18, 2022 5:33 p.m.

A new UCLA interim vice chancellor and chief financial officer began her term April 4.

Chancellor Gene Block announced his appointment of Allison Baird-James, who previously served as the associate vice chancellor of business and finance solutions, on March 24.

Gregg Goldman, the previous interim vice chancellor and CFO, left UCLA on April 1 to become the CFO and senior vice president of finance for Hillspire – a wealth management company – according to a campuswide announcement March 4.

Baird-James’ background and knowledge of the campus and higher education made appointing her an easy decision for Block, Goldman said in an interview.

Baird-James hopes to build on Goldman’s work and promote transparency and effective use of funds, she said in an emailed statement. She plans to replace or upgrade administrative systems to increase their efficiency, she added.

At UCLA, Baird-James served as the associate vice chancellor and controller of business and finance solutions since 2010, she said. Before coming to UCLA, she worked at Stanford University for 13 years. Baird-James has also received graduate certificates from the Anderson School of Management, according to a March 24 campuswide announcement.

“First and foremost, my goal is to practice sound financial decision-making for the university,” Baird-James said. “Tied to this is the second goal, which is to be transparent and honest in communicating our decision-making.”

Julie Kefer, the senior director of operations in business and finance solutions, has worked with Baird-James since 2018 and said she was impressed by Baird-James’ leadership skills.

“Her team follows her because of what she stands for rather than because of her title,” Kefer said.

Baird-James said she is honored to serve such an important organization.

“UCLA is a very special institution with a mission that speaks to me,” Baird-James said. “The students, faculty, and staff are wonderful and so accomplished. It’s an honor to serve such an important organization, one where I earned a post-graduate certificate in management, and I hope to contribute my experience and financial capabilities to make a positive impact.”

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