VP Finance and Operations Peter Smailes to leave UBC on May 31

UBC’s VP Finance and Operations Peter Smailes will be leaving UBC at the end of May.

Smailes spent 30 years at UBC and four years as VP finance and operations. He is leaving UBC to work as Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s VP administration.

President Santa Ono said he had “mixed emotions” about this announcement in a broadcast email sent on April 5.

“Although we will miss Peter, I fully understand his desire to take on a new challenge after such a long and distinguished career at UBC. Please join me in wishing him well,” Ono wrote.

Current Comptroller Karamjeet Heer will step into the role of interim VP finance, and current Associate VP Facilities John Metras will act as interim VP operations.

“UBC is very fortunate to have two exceptional individuals to take on these roles, to ensure leadership continuity and to support the transition as we launch the search for a new Vice-President, Finance and Operations,” Ono wrote.

In a statement published yesterday, Smailes wrote that working at UBC has been “incredibly rewarding.”

“I have learned so much about university finance, operations and administration from all of you. I now want to take that knowledge and hopefully use it to help advance another BC university,” he wrote.

AMS VP Academic and University Affairs Eshana Bhangu said she was disappointed that Smailes was leaving when asked about the announcement at Wednesday night’s AMS Council meeting.

“The VP finance is somebody who's been very receptive to, or at least helpful in terms of when we are creating our budget submission,” she said.

“We do think that we'll be able to continue pushing forward student priorities in Peter’s absence [when] we have a new permanent VP finance and operations.”