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Craig Johnson named Senior VP for Business and Finance

After national search, Interim Senior VP selected to direct the University's business operations
Craig Johnson
Craig Johnson is responsible for Northwestern's administrative and business operations.

Craig Johnson, who has served for more than 18 years in a number of key budgetary and administrative roles at Northwestern University, has been named the University’s Senior Vice President for Business and Finance, Northwestern President Morton Schapiro announced today (Sept. 25).

Johnson, 42, was selected following a nationwide search. He now takes his place — after President Schapiro and Provost Jonathan Holloway — as the third most senior official at Northwestern and the individual responsible for the University’s administrative and business operations. Johnson, who holds two degrees from Northwestern, had served as Interim Senior Vice President for Business and Finance since last spring, following administrative roles in the University’s central budget office and the Feinberg School of Medicine. Johnson will report directly to the President.

“Craig has demonstrated remarkable leadership during his many years at Northwestern,” President Schapiro said. “And since he joined us as Interim Senior Vice President, he’s done tremendous work overseeing Northwestern’s administration and operating budget. He deeply understands Northwestern’s operations, culture, community and values. He has also kept a steady hand on Northwestern’s finances and brought his wise stewardship and experience to the University’s business side at a crucial moment in our history. I’m delighted to welcome him to this important role and to have him on our leadership team.”  

Previously, Johnson served as chief operating officer for Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine since 2016 and as vice dean for finance and administration since 2013. At the medical school, Johnson directed all business and operating functions, in addition to overseeing more than 1,800 employees and operating and capital budgets in excess of $700 million. 

During his tenure, Johnson increased the integration and collaboration between the University and Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, culminating in the integration of the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation into Northwestern Memorial HealthCare. Johnson is also treasurer of the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University, a director on the board of Northwestern’s insurance group, Rubicon Insurance Company, and an assistant professor in Feinberg’s Department of Medical Education. 

He was also the interim chief financial officer at Northwestern Medical Group at Northwestern Memorial HealthCare from 2013 to 2015 and, before joining Feinberg in 2010, worked in Northwestern’s Office of Budget and Planning. 

As Senior Vice President for Business and Finance, Johnson will collaborate with Provost Holloway to direct the University’s business and financial operations, managing an annual operating budget of $2.4 billion and sponsored research activity of $702 million. 

“I’m honored by the opportunity to serve my alma mater in this role and to work with the president, provost, trustees, deans and senior administrators in leading a great university to new heights,” Johnson said. “Having spent so many years studying at Northwestern and having worked at the Evanston and Chicago campuses and affiliated hospitals, I look forward to this chance to continue to build relationships with University stakeholders in the different departments and schools, while also supporting our vital external partnerships.”

Johnson succeeds Nim Chinniah, who resigned from his position as Executive Vice President in March. 

Johnson earned his MBA in finance from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and his undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Arts in political science, from Northwestern as well. Johnson lives in Evanston with his wife, Meera Bhatia, also a Northwestern alumna, and their two daughters.