The University of Tennessee board is recommending that interim president Randy Boyd’s position become permanent. The board’s chair, John Compton, said Wednesday he wanted to give Boyd a five-year term.
The recommendation followed a discussion of Boyd’s annual review, in which dozens of administrators said his performance “exceeded expectations.”
The idea was met with enthusiasm. UT board member Bill Rhodes, who is also CEO of Autozone, told Compton the positive review was enough reason to approve the change.
At his own company, Rhodes says, “if we had a top-quality candidate that had the kind of feedback that we just heard from you, there’s not a chance in the world that we would do a search.”
Another board member joked that no good candidate from outside UT would apply for the job after hearing the board’s ongoing praise for Boyd.
The board will hold a special meeting later this year to confirm the change. Some members questioned the wait, but Compton said it was important for Boyd to first visit UT’s campuses to get student, faculty and staff input on his leadership.
Boyd was named interim president in 2018 and originally said he planned to serve no more than two years.
Before joining the university, Boyd was a longtime businessman in Knoxville and then worked as the state’s economic and community development commissioner. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2018, losing in the primary to Gov. Bill Lee.