The president of the University of Phoenix announced Wednesday he plans to retire after seven years at the helm of the for-profit school once it finds his replacement.
Bill Pepicello, 64, will step down after heading the university during a tumultuous period in which it was excoriated in Washington for providing taxpayer-subsidized coursework that too rarely translated into degrees or paying jobs and as it faced aggressive competition from other for-profit schools that emulated its business model.
“We have certainly navigated some turbulent waters over the last few years. There’s no doubt about that,” Pepicello said in an interview Wednesday. “But my position is whatever we’ve gone through has made the university stronger.”
“The whole landscape of higher education, and in particular for-profit higher education, has changed significantly,” he said. “There’s been much more regulatory influence. Certainly the economy has been a factor in higher education in general. One of the things I’ve been focused on during my presidency is positioning the university to continue serving our students going into the future.”