Luke Figora has been named Northwestern University’s first vice president for operations, the University announced today. He will step into the position beginning April 1.
In this newly created role, Figora will report to senior vice president of business and finance Craig Johnson, acting as an essential advisor and operational subject matter expert.
“I am honored to serve the University in a greater capacity,” Figora said. “I look forward to driving excellence across the senior vice president’s division, working closely with our schools and units and strengthening partnerships with our Evanston and Chicago neighbors.”
Figora currently is senior associate vice president and chief risk and compliance officer at Northwestern. In that role, he has led several functions that rely on broad partnerships across the University to provide excellent service, including procurement and payment services, internal audit, university compliance, risk management and environmental health and safety. He also has led Northwestern’s COVID-19 response since the start of the pandemic and will continue to do so as he begins his new role. This includes managing COVID-19 testing processes, vaccination efforts, return-to-campus procedures and other health and safety protocols.
“Luke has demonstrated a remarkable ability, especially over the last year, to work across the University and make sustained progress toward common goals,” Johnson said. “We are fortunate to be able to draw further upon his expertise and keen judgment as we address the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”
As vice president for operations, Figora will work closely with unit leaders in Neighborhood and Community Relations; Organizational Strategy and Change; Risk, Internal Audit, and Compliance; Safety and Security; and the Office of the Senior Vice President.
Among risk management and insurance professionals, Figora’s leadership is widely acknowledged. He was named risk manager of the year in 2019 by the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS), in part for his development of an industry-leading enterprise risk management framework at Northwestern. Figora also previously served as president of the University Risk Management and Insurance Association (URMIA).
He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and mathematics from Lake Forest College and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Figora has worked for Northwestern since 2015, beginning as the assistant vice president for risk management and environmental health and safety.
“The past year has been a challenging and transformative experience working with nearly every department on campus to help maintain a healthy environment for our students, faculty and staff,” Figora said. “I look forward to continuing to support our University and our leadership as we adapt to the new normal.”