USC's chief financial officer gains national recognition

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USC's chief financial officer gains national recognition


22 August 2012

22 August 2012

The University of the Sunshine Coast’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Peter Sullivan has been recognised nationally for his outstanding work at USC.

Mr Sullivan was one of three finalists in the Public Sector Financial Manager of the Year category of the annual Capital CFO Awards held recently.

These awards are run by the Australian Financial Review and sponsored by CPA Australia, with the winners announced at a ceremony at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth hotel on Friday 10 August.

While not claiming the top prize, Mr Sullivan said he was delighted to have been considered one of the top three chief financial officers in this category.

“I think it was really nice that the University nominated me,” he said. “It’s great to be recognised for what’s happened in the five years that I’ve been at USC.”

Mr Sullivan was the only CFO from an Australian university to be named as a finalist across all categories of the competition, which featured representatives from organisations like Westpac Bank, Boeing Australia, Investa Property Group and Foxtel.

At USC, Mr Sullivan is responsible for managing an operating budget of $160 million.

He is a member of the University Executive, Secretary to the University Council and he oversees USC’s offices of Financial Services, Human Resources, Facilities Management and Information Technology Services.

He also leads University planning and budgeting processes and is responsible for all USC reporting to the State and Commonwealth governments.

“In short, I’m responsible for the long-term sustainability of the university, through investing in and continually managing business practice,” he said.

USC’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said Mr Sullivan had played a leading role in modernising university management and his work was crucial to the University’s future success.

“Peter’s position at USC is at the centre of the key creative tensions of the institution as it works its way through a challenging period in its development,” he said.

“USC is in its sixteenth year of operation, striving to grow as fast as possible so it can function with the economies of scale that come with a critical mass of students in an increasingly competitive sector.

“To do this, USC has to keep investing in the development of both programs and infrastructure. Therefore it has to balance debt and new sources of income.

“Peter is ensuring that USC has the institutional capacities and professional staff capabilities to sustain it through the next five years while it achieves the critical mass that will secure its future as a university for the 21st century.”

Professor Hill said Mr Sullivan’s work at USC extended well beyond what was traditionally required of CFOs at other organisations.

“Peter is a chief source of advice in solving the puzzles that enable USC to keep building the greenfield campus, develop new major sites (such as one at Gympie), introduce new educational programs, develop the University’s research profile and performance , and honour USC’s commitments to regional development,” he said.

“He meets all the necessary conditions of an excellent CFO, but it is his outstanding performance in non-traditional areas that make him an exemplary CFO.”

— Terry Walsh

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