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Executive Vice President Clifford Stanley greets the Penn community on College Green last November. On Oct. 10, he will be leaving the University. [Ari Friedman/DP File Photo]

Five days before his one-year anniversary as Penn's business chief, Clifford Stanley will resign his post on Oct. 10.

Stanley released a statement yesterday that read, "For personal reasons, I have decided that now is the time to leave the University of Pennsylvania to pursue other opportunities." He did not return repeated phone calls yesterday.

University President Judith Rodin, who recruited Stanley directly from the Marine Corps last summer, said that though she had accepted the executive vice president's resignation "with very great regret," it had not come as a surprise, especially given her own impending departure at the end of this year.

Rodin noted that she does not know the exact reasons behind Stanley's decision to leave and at this time, the University will not be looking to replace him.

Stanley's predecessor, John Fry, held the position for seven years before leaving the University to become president of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa.

Fry announced his resignation in February 2002 and left Penn in July, giving the school a five-month heads up -- much longer than Stanley's 10 days' notice.

Rodin noted that the administrators' side of the University operates more like business practices, and "usually, that is two weeks to a month's notice, so this is really within that time frame."

Rodin would not comment on the details of Stanley's contract.

Rodin said that the vice presidents and administrators that report to the EVP's office will now report directly to her, as they did during the search for Stanley.

"I don't think the business side of the house is going to miss a beat," University Provost Robert Barchi said. "The people they have over there, they are very strong players, very experienced."

In fact, Rodin said that the quality and experience of the executive administrators almost led her to eliminate the office of executive vice president after Fry's departure in July 2002.

"During the period in which we were searching for Fry's successor... I considered, given the strength of that leadership team, not hiring an executive vice president," Rodin said.

Stanley came to Penn after three decades in the Marine Corps. Rising to the rank of major general, Stanley taught psychology and leadership at the U.S. Naval Academy.

When Rodin tapped him for Penn's top business spot, Stanley was serving as deputy commanding general of the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Development Command at Quantico, Va., coordinating planning programs, overseeing training and education and supervising concept development.

At the time, Rodin said, "I chose the best candidate, and that's what I said I would do at the outset. For me, too, the fit was absolutely perfect -- someone who had a really full skill set across all of these entities and types of operations...."

But the "absolutely perfect" fit lasted less than a year.

During Stanley's short stint at Penn, he was responsible for overseeing the administrative functions of the University, including finance, investments, human resources, public safety, facilities, real estate, information systems and computing, corporate relations and internal audit and compliance.

The EVP's office also deals with community initiatives.

Many said that, as he took the reins from Fry, Stanley had big shoes to fill. By the end of his seven years as EVP, Fry had dramatically changed University City.

Fry successfully wooed Freshgrocer and upscale restaurants like Pod to the area, assisted in the founding of the University City District and laid the groundwork for the project that saw the Bridge: Cinema de Lux built and, albeit a few years behind schedule, open for business.

At the time of Stanley's appointment, Rodin praised the two-star general's "impressive record throughout his distinguished military career" and noted that his leadership skills would be valuable to Penn "particularly as we are about to implement our next strategic plan."

Now, though both Rodin and Stanley will be out of office when that strategic plan is set in motion, the outgoing president said that the University will not suffer.

According to Vice President for Facilities and Real Estate Services Omar Blaik, administrative turnover is to be expected when a president resigns.

While he did not know of anyone else specifically who had contemplated resigning along with Rodin, he noted that "we all need to acknowledge that this is a time of transition between administrations, and some [people] may think that this is a time to step on to bigger and better things."

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