Mandy Distel will become Northwestern University’s permanent chief financial officer, and Luke Figora will become the University’s permanent chief operating officer, effective Aug. 7, President Michael Schill announced today. Both have been serving in those roles on an interim basis since the departure of Craig Johnson, formerly the executive vice president, in June.
Distel was promoted in June to vice president and treasurer, and Figora has served as vice president for operations since 2021. Both will report to directly to Schill, and Northwestern will eliminate the vacant executive vice president role.
“Mandy and Luke have been valuable partners and provided outstanding leadership to their units,” Schill said. “Coupled with other recent organizational shifts, this move further enhances our ability to nimbly and effectively respond to opportunities and challenges. I look forward to working with Luke and Mandy over the coming years as we continue to serve our research and educational priorities and to expand Northwestern’s influence and impact.”
In Figora’s expanded role as chief operating officer, he will oversee his previous Operations portfolio, central Facilities and Information Technology, which jointly reports to the Office of the Provost.
“Northwestern is an incredible university that I’ve felt fortunate to serve for nearly a decade, and I am honored to take on this new important role,” Figora said. “I look forward to working closely with President Schill, the Board of Trustees and our talented and dedicated staff to further the University’s strategic goals.”
Figora previously served as senior associate vice president and chief risk and compliance officer at Northwestern. In that role, he led several functions that relied 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.
Distel will oversee the central Budget and Planning office, Human Resources and Financial Operations.
“I am excited to take on this role and collaborate closely with President Schill and the Board on our shared financial vision for Northwestern,” Distel said. “I am fortunate to lead a team that is dedicated to positioning our faculty, students and staff for excellence.”
Before her appointment as vice president, Distel had served as senior associate vice president for finance and treasurer since 2019. In that role, she led Northwestern’s Financial Operations, comprising accounting, research finance, tax, treasury and student finance.
Distel and Figora both work closely with the Board of Trustees and with University leadership on budget, operations and planning issues.
“The University is in strategic and strong financial and operational hands with Mandy Distel and Luke Figora in these roles,” said Peter Barris, chair of the Board of Trustees. “Mandy’s deep understanding of the University, financial planning acumen and counsel to our Board and its Finance Committee have been invaluable to the financial health of the University. Luke’s foresight and leadership are essential to the University's safe and effective operations, and he has been a critical liaison to our Board on multiple fronts. We look forward to continuing our close work with these two high-caliber individuals.”