University financial expert joins NAU as VP for Finance & Administration

New Hire burton

A financial expert with extensive university system experience has accepted the position of vice president for Finance and Administration at Northern Arizona University.

Jennus Burton, vice president for Arkansas State’s System Operations since 2007 and former associate vice president at Arizona State, will begin his new position at NAU in June, pending approval by the Arizona Board of Regents.

“This is a position we desperately need,” said NAU President John Haeger. “The university is undergoing a great deal of financial scrutiny, especially in light of Arizona’s budget situation, and Jennus is one of the best in the business.”

Burton was offered the position after a nationwide search that yielded a large number of highly qualified candidates, Haeger explained.

The new vice president will oversee the university’s financial structure, including audit, investments, debt management, revenue possibilities and construction financing. He also will identify and correct any financial inefficiencies. He will direct Human Resources, Financial Services/Comptroller, Purchasing Services, NAU Police Department, Postal Services, Internal Audit, the Bookstore, internal space allocation, the Office of Economic Development and the Office of Sustainability.

“I am aware of the financial challenges facing the state,” Burton said. “However, I have witnessed a team spirit with the current staff at NAU that I believe has the capability to manage through these challenges and make NAU a much stronger institution.”

He said he looks forward to working with NAU administrators, staff and faculty as well as the Arizona Board of Regents and the administrators at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona. “Much work needs to be done to enhance the sustainability of our institution, and I will work hard in meeting that challenge,” he said.

The vice president for Finance and Administration position has been vacant since December 2008. Executive Vice President MJ McMahon has been overseeing the day-to-day operation of the area. “MJ has done an excellent job seeing us through some very difficult times,” Haeger said.

Burton joins NAU after a 13-year career at Arkansas State where he previously served as vice president for Finance and Administration at Arkansas State’s Jonesboro campus for 10 years.

Burton has been responsible for planning and budgeting for the Arkansas State system, which includes the Jonesboro campus along with a branch campus in Paragould and three two-year campuses in Beebe, Mountain Home and Newport.

His responsibilities included debt management, rating agency relations, capital construction for the Jonesboro campus, facilities planning, internal audit, property management, land sales and acquisition, information technology services and employee benefits management.

As vice president for Finance and Administration at NAU, Burton will earn $225,000 per year.

Born in Glendale, Ariz., and raised in Phoenix, Burton worked for 22 years in various positions at Arizona State as assistant vice president for Business Affairs, director of Cash and Property Management and manager of Management Support Services for Physical Plant.

He has been married to his wife, Rosanne, for 37 years, and they have two sons who live in Chandler and Tucson. “I am grateful and honored to be joining President Haeger’s staff at Northern Arizona University,” he said. “This is a homecoming for Rosanne and me, and we look forward to returning to our home state.”