VP Finance & Operations and CFO - Athabasca University

Status: Filled

Location: Athabasca, Alberta


Athabasca University (AU) is a renowned Canadian open education post-secondary institution located in Athabasca, Alberta. Founded in 1970, it is dedicated to the removal of barriers that restrict access to and success in university-level study and increasing educational opportunities for adult learners worldwide.

AU is committed to providing high-quality education and ensuring rigorous academic standards. The university’s faculty members are experts in their respective fields and are actively involved in research and scholarship. They provide guidance, support, and mentorship to students throughout their academic journey. One of the unique features of AU is its open admission policy, which allows individuals from diverse educational backgrounds to pursue their studies. This policy means that students do not require specific prerequisites or prior qualifications to enroll in most undergraduate programs. It provides opportunities for lifelong learners, adult students, and individuals seeking career advancement or personal development.

While AU primarily operates online, it is based in the beautiful region of Athabasca, Alberta. This location provides administrative services, research facilities, and a hub for faculty and staff.

Approaching an exciting new phase of strategic planning in late 2023 and guided by a new President, Alex Clark, AU is now seeking to build on its 50 years of growth as Canada’s leader and innovator in distance and online education. With a newly established and highly inclusive Senior Leadership Team, who are committed to supporting all team members to contribute and grow and focussed on building an innovative growth-oriented working culture: AU is primed for an exciting and bold next phase.  


 As a member of the leadership team, reporting to the President and working closely in partnership with the Provost and the Vice-President Academic, the Vice President Finance & Operations and CFO (“VPFO”) supports Athabasca University’s academic, teaching and research mission and strategic direction through planning, directing and overseeing the administrative and business functions of the university.


Core Competencies

  • A university degree combined with an accounting designation (a graduate degree in business, finance or accounting would be considered an asset).
  • Fifteen or more years of progressively advancing professional and management experience.
  • A minimum of seven years at the management level, of which at least five years are in a senior management position.
  • Experience in post-secondary or public sector management.
  • Experience in a unionized environment.

Key Responsibilities

Financial Planning, Reporting and Operations

Working closely with, and in support of the Provost, the VPFO is responsible for developing, coordinating and managing the University’s operating and capital budgets, and assets; and aligning resource allocation to promote and achieve the academic, teaching and research mission of the university.

The VPFO has responsibility and accountability over the full lifecycle of third-party contracts and procurement agreements. As part of the Senior Leadership Team, VPFO also supports Collaboration and Partnership discussions to enhance the outcomes of the negotiation and the contracting process. The VPFO provides advice to the President and other senior internal stakeholders in the process of development of contracts to protect AU from undue risk, liabilities, consistency of the relationship objectives with strategic objectives.

Coordination, support and governance

Reporting to the President, the VPFO is a member of AU’s Senior Leadership Team and provides advice, insight, and information to, and collaborates with the President, the Provost and Vice- President, Academic, and various other members of the AU senior leadership team in the planning and implementation of core initiatives in support of the university’s academic mission.

Enterprise Risk and Resilience

The VPFO ensures the development, implementation and coordination of the University’s Enterprise Risk Management, Emergency Management, Business Continuity and Insurance programs, with a primary objective of achieving risk identification, assessment, monitoring and organizational resiliency with respect to risks across the scope of Athabasca University.

Facilities, Services and Capital Project Management

The VPFO ensures that AU’s physical facilities, grounds and capital construction projects all support the achievement of the University’s academic mission and strategic plan, and are in compliance with all laws and regulations.

Internal Audit

The VPFO oversees the development, implementation and management of a broad, comprehensive program of internal audit at Athabasca University. In support of the University’s overall mission, this critical function assists the University to accomplish its goals and objectives through a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluating and improving risk management, control, compliance, and governance processes.

External Liaison and Relationships

The VPFO engages regularly with external stakeholders, including officials with local, provincial and federal levels of government, and the Office of the Auditor General, and other agencies related to areas of responsibility. In particular, the VPFO works closely with other post- secondary institutions and the Ministry of Advanced Education to convey information, exchange ideas, develop partnerships and advocate for policies and initiatives that are supportive of the advancement of open, distance and online education, and post-secondary education in general. The VPFO strives to establish positive working relationships with all levels of government and relevant external stakeholders to support and promote the reputation and success of AU.

We understand and appreciate our clients’ ever-increasing desire for candidates to reflect the communities in which they work and live. The Vogel Group is committed to inclusivity and diversity was we search for outstanding leadership talent for our clients.

For a Full Profile or to apply, please contact:

Rick Vogel, ICD.D                       

Founding Principal                       

780.665.4965 ext. 101                  rick@thevogelgroup.ca

The Vogel Group is a leadership search firm with offices in Alberta and Ontario conducting national searches for a wide range of clients. We work with like-minded organizations that value a partnership based on integrity, authenticity and an unwavering commitment to excellence.

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