Dr. Jay Gogue

Two years after retiring from Auburn University, Jay Gogue will step back into the Office of the President.

Gogue served as president of the university for 10 years (2007-2017), and has been selected by the Auburn University Board of Trustees Executive Committee to act as interim president after Steven Leath resigned from the position last Friday through correspondence to the BOT President Pro Tempore Wayne Smith.

Members of the full board will consider the executive committee's recommendation to approve Gogue as interim president at a special-called meeting on July 8.

"Auburn is a special place that means a lot to Susie and me, and I appreciate the committee's confidence," Gogue said. "If the board accepts the committee's recommendation, I will be honored to again serve the Auburn Family and do my part to help continue the record of Auburn's achievement."

Since his retirement, Gogue has stayed active in the Auburn community and was appointed to serve a six-year term on the city's Industrial Development Board last fall.

Until the BOT appoints the interim president on July 8, retired Lt. Gen. Ron Burgess will act as the executive vice-president, overseeing business and administrative affairs of the university, according to a resolution from the executive committee.

Burgess had most recently been moved to the role of chief operating officer by Leath in April 2018.

The Villager requested any documents relating to the terms of Leath's departure from Auburn University, but as of Wednesday morning the Auburn Open Records office had not yet received any such documents.

Leath only served two years of his five-year contract, which was to end on July 15, 2022. His annual salary was set at a base of $625,000 per year.

According to his contract, if the university terminated him without cause, he would be entitled to receive compensation in the amount of his base salary for the remainder of his five-year term.

If he were terminated for causes listed in the contract — fraud, theft or "engaging in conduct that displays a continual or serious disrespect or disregard for Auburn," among other causes — no further compensation would be due to him.

But Leath's departure from Auburn does not appear to fall under either of those categories. His resignation was announced last Friday evening in a university news release and was described as a mutual decision between Leath and members of the BOT presidential assessment working group after the two had "extensive discussions about the university's leadership," according to the release.

"Dr. Leath arrived with vision and enthusiasm to take Auburn to the next level," said Wayne T. Smith, president pro tempore of the university’s board. "We’re grateful for his dedication and commitment as Auburn made strides as a world-class public university. We wish Steve and Janet all the best."

It is unclear if the university will provide him with any further compensation.

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