NASHVILLE — Steven D. Leonard, a Nashville corporate leader and government official, was elected executive vice president of the University of Tennessee by UT’s Board of Trustees.
UT President John W. Shumaker recommended Leonard’s appointment following a national search. The appointment is effective Jan. 16.
“Steve Leonard has demonstrated exceptional leadership and planning skills in a variety of corporate and governmental positions,” Shumaker said. “We are fortunate to have him join our management team.”
Steven D. Leonard
Leonard, a UT graduate, is deputy commissioner for policy in the state’s Department of Finance and Administration and a special assistant to the Governor. Prior to his service with the State of Tennessee, he headed two California companies and was an airline executive for 20 years.
“The University of Tennessee is the unique statewide resource which has achieved much for all Tennesseans. It is an honor to serve President Shumaker, the trustees, staff, faculty, alumni and students as we guide the entire system to achieve new levels of service to our state and our country,” Leonard said.
Leonard will have offices in Knoxville and Nashville. Shumaker said he will have responsibility for system-wide projects.
“Steve will serve as the chief operating officer of the University of Tennessee, giving special attention to strategic planning, information technology, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and to eliminating bureaucracy and streamlining administrative procedures,” Shumaker said.
Leonard came to state government in 2000 and was involved in planning and management of children’s services and Human Services; completed special analysis and recommendations for TennCare, Mental Health/Mental Retardation, and Veterans Homes; contributed to the team which designed the Governor-s Reading Initiative of 2001; and was involved in many other research and analysis projects. He also reviewed operating and capital budgets of state departments that identified $50 million in savings as part of his Department of Finance and Administration assignments.
Leonard was founding chairman and CEO of Capstan Inc. in San Francisco and served as president and chief operating officer of a California-based logistics services company that had 2,300 employees in 250 locations around the world.
His career with AMR/American Airlines began in 1976. He held progressive management positions, including general manager of American’s operations in Nashville from 1985 to1988, managing director of American-s European operations from 1989 to 1992 based in London, and vice president for worldwide sales and marketing from 1991 to 1995. He also was corporate vice president for sales and services with America West Airlines.
A Blount County native, he earned the B.S. in business administration from UT in 1976 and the MBA from the University of Dallas in 1983. He has done continuing education work at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and at Columbia University.
Leonard is a Vietnam veteran, having served in the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps, and was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Army Commendation Medal. He has served several Nashville civic and charitable groups, has been an active youth sports coach, and is a member of the advisory board of Volunteer State Community College.
He and his wife, Irene, have four children–Christopher, Zachary, Alexandra and Madison.