Resigning as university president can be lucrative

When University of Northern British Columbia president Don Cozzetto’s suddenly resigned last month – in large part due to university funding cuts by the provincial government – there was mention that he would receive a reasonable severance package.

My definition of “reasonable” meant a package that recognized the costs involved for Cozzetto in selling his Prince George home, moving back to the United States and some compensation to assist him until he began working as an academic again.

Last week, UNBC revealed Cozzetto is receiving nearly a half-million dollars in severance.

He’s receiving one year’s salary and benefits valued at $342,804.67 and another $150,000 to surrender his appointment as a full professor with tenure at UNBC.

At the end of March, it was revealed that Carleton’s former president David Atkinson received $487,158 in salary and benefits during 2007. Atkinson “resigned” as president of Carleton in late November 2006. (Atkinson will become president of Kwantlen Polytechnic University this July.)

It seems the real money is not in being president, it’s in resigning as a president.

Mind you, saying “I don’t actually want to be president, I just want to resign as president” may not work in the job interview.