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Manuel Cuevas-Trisán to step down as VP for Human Resources

Manuel Cuevas-Trisán, who has worked to make Northwestern University more inclusive through social justice initiatives and other University-wide programs, will step down later this summer as vice president for human resources and chief human resource officer to assume a similar role at Harvard University. 

Cuevas-Trisán, who has been at Northwestern since December 2019, will continue with the University through July.

Manuel Cuevas Trisan
Manuel Cuevas-Trisán

“This was a very difficult decision for me and for my family,” Cuevas-Trisán said. “Northwestern is an extraordinary community with a bright future. I am grateful to Senior Vice President for Business and Finance Craig Johnson, as well as to President Morty Schapiro and Provost Kathleen Hagerty, for affording me the privilege of serving this great institution. 

“I will continue to cherish the friendships I established here in the years to come. My human resources team has laid the foundation for inclusive excellence throughout the employment life-cycle, improved standards of service, investment in talent development and collaboration across administrative and academic units.”  

Upon Cuevas-Trisán’s departure, Priya Harjani will lead human resources in an interim capacity until a permanent replacement is named. Harjani, associate vice president and deputy general counsel, served in the same interim capacity in 2019 prior to Cuevas-Trisán’s arrival. She has elected not to be a candidate for the permanent position.

Vice President of Operations Luke Figora will lead a national search for the next vice president for human resources. More information about the search will be shared soon.

“Manuel has made an enormous impact on our Northwestern community,” Johnson said. “He has advocated for all faculty and staff as we pivoted our workplace over the last year and has provided wise counsel to our leadership.” 

Since joining Northwestern from Motorola Solutions, Cuevas-Trisán has helped shape and implement several key social justice initiatives, including the recently announced diverse candidates slate policy, anti-racism training for senior leaders and efforts to make pay practices more transparent. He also implemented learning and professional development programs for staff and managers and helped modernize the Office of Human Resources’ strategic plan and organizational model.

Under Cuevas-Trisán’s leadership, Northwestern expanded dependent care and adoption assistance benefits. He also led or co-led searches for several high-profile University positions, including the new vice president and chief diversity officer and the senior associate vice president for equity. In addition, he helped create Northwestern’s inaugural ombuds office. 

“Manuel’s legacy will be a more equitable University for all those who work and learn here, particularly through his leadership in social justice initiatives,” Johnson said. “I am proud of all he has accomplished on behalf of our employees and Northwestern. We wish him and his family well at Harvard in the fall.”