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Twenty years ago, the University had just created the position of executive vice president, under the name of senior vice president.

Twenty years later, the University will eliminate the post, once Clifford Stanley leaves Penn in a week.

And while the sudden departure of Stanley has come as a shock to many, the history of the top business position has been marked by changes in personnel and a growth of responsibilities over the past two decades.

In big letters in the Penn Almanac from Sept. 18, 1984, the legend "How Penn Works" introduced organizational changes made by Helen O'Bannon, the business chief at the time.

Then, the position oversaw three vice presidents.

But Stanley oversaw seven vice presidents -- for Audit and Compliance, Business Services, Finance, Facilities Services, Human Resources, Information Systems and Computing and Public Safety.

Although Stanley's resignation came abruptly, his short term is not entirely unique in Penn's history.

After O'Bannon, Marna Whittington held the top business title for four years, taking office as senior vice president in 1988 and leaving her post as EVP to join the investment firm of Miller, Anderson & Sherrerd in 1992.

An interim EVP was then selected -- Whittington was replaced by former Executive Director of the President's Office John Gould, who did not receive a permanent appointment and was replaced after a year.

That replacement was Janet Hale, a former associate director for economics and government at the Office of Management and Budget.

However, Hale lasted just over a year herself -- submitted to the trustees as the final candidate for the position in March of 1993, notice of her resignation appeared in the Sept. 6, 1994 issue of the Almanac. She wrote that she was "leaving for another opportunity."

Her replacement, Jack Freeman, only accepted an appointment as acting EVP. Formerly EVP of both the University of Pittsburgh and Temple University, Freeman bowed out when John Fry was appointed to the office, brought in from Coopers & Lybrand, an academic consulting firm, in April of 1995.

Fry had worked closely with University President Judith Rodin while working for Coopers, helping her revise and refine Penn's administrative structure.

Former University President Martin Meyerson -- who served from 1970-1981 -- noted that "as universities have grown larger, there are advantages" to such officers as the EVP, but added that he had preferred "a lean pattern of top officers at universities."

Now, with Stanley out of office in less than a year and no search underway for his replacement, the upper echelons of Penn's management structure between the president and vice presidents are as lean as it can get.

Penn will now be without an EVP for at least six months -- almost twice as long as the vice presidential leadership team reported directly to Rodin during the search for Fry's replacement.

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