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Chief Human Resources Officer, Chief of Staff Announced

June 27, 2019

Dear Colleagues,

As we close as the fiscal year in a few days and start anew, I want to take a moment to share with you the results of the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) search as well as additional updates in the Division of Finance and Administration (DFA).

A new Chief Human Resources Officer appointed

As we continue to support our most valued resource – you – I am pleased to announce the appointment of Nicole Pollack as UC Merced’s Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) and Assistant Vice Chancellor (AVC) for Human Resources. Her appointment will begin Aug. 5.

Nicole brings with her a wealth of experience, most recently from San Mateo County with over 20 years of work in all aspects of public sector HR with hands-on experience in recruitment, talent acquisition, talent development and management, policy development, and employee relations. She also serves as the chair of the Bay Area Social Services Consortium Human Resources Committee, serving as a liaison for 12 Bay Area counties and Bay Area universities, including UC Berkley and four CSU universities.

I want to extend my deep appreciation to the CHRO Search Advisory Committee for their active participation in the search process for this critical position. The Search Committee was involved in recruiting, screening and conducting interviews with qualified candidates and Nicole stood out as a solid choice to lead our campus in all matters related to Human Resources. The members of the search committee include:

  • Michael Reese, Vice Chancellor Emeritus
  • Luanna Putney, Associate Chancellor and Chief of Staff to the Chancellor
  • Rich Shintaku, Senior Advisor and Chief of Staff to the Provost
  • Kristin Hlubik, Health Promotions Coordinator
  • Demitra Borrero, Interlibrary Services Coordinator
  • Dr. Sam Traina, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development
  • Chou Her, Chief of Police
  • Kurt Schnier, Professor of Economics and Chair of the Academic Senate

I also want to thank the many people who participated in the final interview process, especially during the warm summer months. We owe this successful search in large part to your efforts and dedication to the mission and vision of our institution. We are UC Merced and your commitment to finding excellent people shows true through this search.

Nicole is a hands-on, innovative leader in her field with a commitment to collaboration, coalition-building, and inclusiveness. I’m confident that Nicole brings the right combination of skills and experience to our campus at exactly the right time. Please join me in welcoming Nicole Pollack to the Bobcat community as she steps into an important role that ultimately positions us to better serve our people and our UC Merced community.

A new Chief of Staff appointed

I am further pleased to announce Gerry Elizondo will be joining the Bobcat family on July 22 as our new Assistant Vice Chancellor and Chief of Staff for Finance and Administration. After a previously conducted search where the university interviewed a number of qualified candidates, Gerry was identified through an open search, bringing with her 20 years of experience in higher education administration. Gerry has spent most of her career with California-based higher education institutions and as a graduate from UC Davis, she’s coming back to the University of California with a wealth of knowledge. Gerry’s most recent experience is with
California State University, Fresno. Please join me in welcoming Gerry Elizondo to the Bobcat community.

Financial Planning and Analysis: Open Recruitment

Romi Kaur, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Financial Planning and Analysis, recently accepted a position as Director of Financial Reporting and Corporate Accounting at Foster Farms. Over the past two and a half years, her leadership has provided a foundation for modernized budget approaches to our annual budget process. While Romi’s last day will be July 5, and we wish her luck in the future, she will not completely leave our Bobcat family, agreeing to continue to serve on the advisory aoard of the Alpha Financials system replacement project.

With that, I’m immediately launching an open recruitment for this critical position.



Michael Riley
Interim Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer
Finance and Administration