Kristina Johnson intends to resign as president of Ohio State University, a position she has held for less than three years. Johnson issued a statement late Monday confirming her departure, following a report in the Columbus Dispatch that such a move was imminent. In response to the newspaper’s report that OSU trustees asked Johnson to resign following an investigation prompted by unspecified “staff concerns,” a university spokesman said the university had not conducted an investigation into the president.
Johnson issued a statement through her Columbus attorney, Cooper Elliott Partner Rex Elliott, claiming that the Dispatch account “mischaracterized” events. “I am saddened by the circumstances,” said the statement. “My track record of success at Ohio State speaks for itself.” Neither that statement nor the official OSU statement explains why she made her decision.
“I have made the difficult decision to step down as president at the end of the academic year.” “According to Johnson’s official statement. “This will allow the search for the next president to begin, as well as give me enough time to assist with a smooth transition.”
The OSU Board of Trustees was made aware of Johnson’s “intent to leave the university” prior to this month’s board and committee meetings, according to an email from a university spokesman. As a result, trustees did not conduct the annual performance review and salary adjustment, as is customary at November meetings.
Johnson was named Ohio State’s president in June 2020, succeeding Michael Drake at the start of the 2020-21 school year. In a recent interview for Columbus Business First’s Women of Influence podcast, she stated that the tumult of the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact during her early years had made her feel as if she was only now settling into the role.
In that early November interview, she emphasized the importance of creating a path to debt-free college for Ohio State students, as well as her plans to significantly increase faculty hiring and research expenditures. Johnson’s starting salary at the university was $900,000 per year. She received a $27,000 raise and a $263,500 performance award after her first year at the school.
“On behalf of the entire Board of Trustees, I’d like to thank Dr. Johnson for her dedication to the university, particularly her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Johnson “The board’s chairman, Dr. Hiroyuki Fujita, said statement announcing Johnson’s departure. “We congratulate her on her numerous accomplishments and wish her the best of luck in her future professional endeavors.”