David Grissom

UofL Board of Trustees chair J. David Grissom and former interim UofL president Greg Postel spoke with the media in February 2017. | Photo by Joe Sonka

This post has been updated.

After two years at the helm, David Grissom is out as the chairman of the University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees. Former Yum Brands executive Mary Nixon will succeed him as the board’s leader.

Grissom was elected chairman in January 2017, beating businessman Junior Bridgeman for the role in a turbulent time for UofL. The university was on probation with its accreditation agency and its men’s basketball team under NCAA scrutiny.

He wasted no time in criticizing the UofL Foundation for not moving fast enough to clean up after the former school and foundation president James Ramsey left. In the same meeting, the board named Greg Postel as interim president — the first of two times Grissom would name a president.

Later that year, Grissom drew criticism from university sports fans for firing former men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino and former athletic director Tom Jurich amid an FBI investigation. (Jurich later settled with the university to clarify he was let go without cause.) That dislike followed him for most of his tenure, resulting in multiple jubilant tweets immediately after reports that Grissom was rolling off the board Thursday.

In Thursday’s board meeting, Nixon was elected to replace him. Raymond Burse will be vice chair, Bonita Black will be secretary and Diane Medley will be treasurer. Grissom was not nominated for another role.

Nominating new officers is standard procedure for the board’s first meeting of a fiscal year, which began July 1. Typically, the officers are approved quickly at the start of the full board meeting; however, Grissom moved an executive session from the bottom of the meeting agenda to the beginning suddenly. The slate approved as expected after the closed session.

In closing remarks, Grissom said Nixon will do well in the role, adding she has a “spectacular moral compass.” After swapping seats to the chair’s spot, Nixon said she breathed a “huge sigh of relief” when she saw two years ago that Grissom would be chair.

She thanked him for leading the search effort to find President Neeli Bendapudi in 2018, saying he and the university will be “eternally grateful.”