Two regents express disagreement with recent Moody’s analysis

Alex Wilts

Paul Foster, UT System Board of Regents chairman, and Regent Jeffery Hildebrand said they "strongly disagreed" with Moody's Investor Services determining recent tensions in the System were “credit negative” in a recent analysis.

"It is important to point out that the UT System not only holds an Aaa rating – the highest possible rating from Moody’s – but also AAA ratings from Fitch Ratings and Standard and Poor’s Corporation," Foster and Hildebrand said in a joint statement.

Released on Monday, Moody's analysis determined recent conflicts within the System, such a house committee's recent censure of Regent Wallace Hall in August, warranted the “credit negative” since they could affect the System’s financial position and the ability of the University to attract top-level candidates to replace President William Powers Jr. 

The System announced in July that Powers had reached an agreement with Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa to step down from his position in June 2015. The deal was made after Cigarroa originally asked Powers to resign in October.

In their statement, Foster and Hildebrand said a search committee will soon be announced to find “distinguished and capable” candidates for University president and cited the regents' selection of Naval Adm. William McRaven as sole finalist to replace Cigarroa. In December, Cigarroa will step down to return to practicing medicine at UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

The board is expected to officialy name McRaven as the System's next chancellor at its meeting on Thursday.