Wednesday, September 9, 2015

For the Record: Why did Studham leave?

An article has appeared on the Wall Street Journal site about the recent departure of our CIO (Chief Information Officer.)

Comments so far on this article are below with emphasis added. A transparent explanation of what happened is due from the University of Minnesota administration.  

Ex-Studham Employee wrote: 
What a crock. This man is a sociopath was run out on a rail by his own senior leadership after increasingly sporadic temper tantrums and abuses of power. If he ever crosses the threshold of a college or university again, it will be too soon.

Good Riddance wrote:  
One should know that the attempts to "boost employee engagement through surveys and feedback on IT issues" amount to reeducation programs and constant gaming of the survey to boost OIT ratings after scoring below almost every department on campus. Those who would not (or could not) comply were forced out. 

University of Minnesota employee wrote:
No one quits a $250k+ a year job to go running, this might as well say he resigned to "focus on his family." The reality is he was the subject of an internal investigation regarding the misappropriation of University funds and other questionable practices. He burned bridges with senior leadership and most everyone he worked with. In the shadow of recent scandals involving other senior University of Minnesota staff the institution’s tolerance for high risk behaviors evaporated. Simply put he was forced out. What happened to reporting WSJ? You might as well just republish the press release.

Huh... wrote: 
Other people hold down full-time jobs and train for triathlons and marathons. Quitting your job to do suggests time management issues. If my husband quit his job to train, he had better come home with a first place trophy. Just saying.

Studham fails wrote: 

Ditto to all of the comments above. Studham was a cancer on the university and the poster child for unethical behavior and wasting university resources for personal benefit. Seeing him in action was like watching a child stuck in puberty - embarrassing for an "executive" at his level. Goodbye and good riddance.

Fork and Spoon operator from sector 7-G wrote:

Some of the vitriol here is a little over the top but he was a bully who claimed to not know why every little request resulted in a five alarm fire on down the line. The Abilene Paradox comes to mind for most of the decision making going on the last few years. 
"In an Abilene paradox a group of people collectively decide on a course of action that is counter to the preferences of many (or all) of the individuals in the group. It involves a common breakdown of group communication in which each member mistakenly believes that their own preferences are counter to the group's and, therefore, does not raise objections. A common phrase relating to the Abilene Paradox is a desire not to "rock the boat." "

Brand mismanagement wrote:

Far more interesting in promoting the "Scott Studham" brand than accomplishing his job. An earlier poster was correct -- he was about to undergo an investigation into misappropriation of funds related to expanding his empire. He got out before anything became public.

Univ of Tennessee employee wrote:

Practically everything said above could have been and was said of Studham's tenure at UT. Until he learns to work with his peers rather than against them, and work for the good of the institution in which he is employed, he will never rise to the level of responsibility he so desperately craves.

Yet another Univ. of TN employee wrote:

He drove morale into the ground while he was here. He tried to replace managers with "service owners" until no one knew who was responsible for purchasing or hiring. It was total chaos. When he left people were cheering throughout our IT department. How does this type of person who gets chased out of every job they've held keep getting hired? When he came to UT, people from ORNL called to ask us that same question. He was forced out there too.

Get Real, WSJ wrote:

No mention that he resigned "effective immediately", with the news released after-hours on the Friday leading into a long weekend? Nobody at that executive level *ever* resigns "effective immediately" unless they're trying to get out ahead of a scandal. Ever. Try doing some real reporting.

Studham's Research "Expertise" wrote:

Studham claims to have a strong background in research computing. While at The University of Tennessee, he proposed replacing Linux on our supercomputer with Windows. He said he had done that at ORNL and that it had made supercomputing easy to use. We called ORNL and could find no such system. In fact, their IT people found the idea quite amusing. He also tried to replace SAS and MATLAB with Excel. He claimed to be customer driven so when we asked what customer had asked for these changes, he said that he was a customer too.

UofM wrote:

It is mind boggling that if what was said above about being "forced" out of previous positions, how the UofM could not have known...

UofMN wrote:

What makes you think the U didn't know? They conduct major searches for any "leadership" position and then pick the person who promises to "fix" whatever quagmire needs attention. My experience - the U couldn't care less about the quality of a candidate as long as h/she knows how to play the role of a vapid talking head who blames staff for everything.

Celebration Time C'mon! Let's Celebrate! IT Employee wrote:

The guy was a bully. Unethical and led by fear. He is paranoid and calculating. Everyone's ideas (including that of his boss and other VPs) were 'cute'. He believed he was the smartest guy in the room. Possible. Horrible all the same. Kudos to the U for finally realizing it and doing something about it. It took too long.

UMN employee again. wrote:

Doesn't anyone see that these series of firings are a distraction from the real skeletons in the University's closet? Faculty with tenure get away with horrible offenses of sexual harassment against students (minors, even), workplace bullying, embezzlement, religious persecution, blatant racism, and far far worse. On a daily basis. Ask any staff member (who are not to be confused with administrators). This is all a charade. If Studham and Teague were tenured faculty and not P&A annually renewable employees, NONE of this would have made the news. The staff brave enough to speak up against this behavior would have been sent to EOAA where all claims go to die.

ConcernedUofMAlum wrote:

What is going on at the U? Seems like there is no sense of how important upfront and credible public and media relations are for a major public research university that touches so many people, institutions and communities. Sad.

He pulled that "service owner" s*** at UT, too? wrote: 

The mother of all cluster**** reorgs in the history of cluster**** reorgs. You ******** at UT should've warned us about that crap! Although, to be fair, you were probably keeping that to yourselves to get rid of him.

It is about time wrote: 

Scott Studham was complicit in the move to make sure the majority of his employees did not have Civil Service protections in their jobs. He was proud of the fact that he purged most Civil Service employees from his ranks. Over half were moved from Civil Service to renewable contract positions.

Bedside manner... wrote:

...of a serial rapist.

For the Love of the UofMN wrote: 

Good riddance to bad rubbish. Now U of MN step up your game, bring in good leadership and to be honest kick the Studham backers to the curb... they are just as bad as him for riding the coattails and getting financial as well as job gain from him. ACIO's .... really??? Service Owners... blah. He pulled the wool over peoples eyes like a hat trick and people bought into his garbage.

Quiting to run a marathon? Ummm no asked to leave and about time.

University leaders, Regents etc.... let's wipe this egg off our faces. The University is a great school, I am a former employee and Alum, Go Gophers!!!!

UM concerned citizen wrote: 

I think this is happening / has happened everywhere, but the UMN is no longer a safe place to challenge authority unless you have tenure or civil service protections. Even then, there are ways to remove the whistle-blower. And with the threat of lawsuits arising from negative reference checks, is it any wonder that problem leaders are tolerated or shared with the next institution?

Lencioni wrote:
 Five Dysfunctions of a team:
Absense of trust. Check.
Fear of conflict. Check.
Lack of committment. Check.
Avoidance of accountability. Check.
Inattention to results. Check.

By his own measure Studham was wildly successful at creating a highly dysfunctional team. Time to start the next chapter. Ironically, this is a really exciting time to work in IT at the U.

Angry too! wrote: 

To UMN employee again -- I agree - there is no safe place to report offenses of harassment. Tenure and bad leadership is keeping sexual harassers and mean SOBs in their positions. I would never send my child to the University of Minnesota.

Relieved wrote: 

Seriously - quitting to ride his bike and swim laps? Story telling is one of Studhams few strengths and I would have expected more from him than a newfound love for fitness and homeschooling. The reality is that Studham is neither a technologist nor a leader. He's his own chief marketing officer and campaign manager. Peel back the shiny marketing glitz and chrome plated facade and you'll find an empty suit and a failed attempt at leadership. His sole interest is the pursuit of self gratification and those with the misfortune of working with him are just pawns in the game. Fortunately, the match is over. Checkmate.

Gopherlady wrote: 

Is there a thumbs up button for all of these comments?

Not Trending Positively wrote:

What we want is Studham's $80+ million "Upgrade" disaster to be fixed so that we can all do our jobs again.

IT Employee wrote:

The comments above have just barely touched the surface. He was verbally abusive towards his employees on a daily basis.

It looks like wrote: 
This "report" is a Studham publicity stunt that backfired spectacularly. 

I Can See Russia From My House wrote:
Seriously, WSJ? A well-paid university exec resigns "effective immediately," just as the school year is starting, in order to GET IN SHAPE, and that sounds credible to you? 

To Review.... wrote: 
So, to review, former Studham employees at Oakridge, U Tennesee, and U Minnesota all found him to be arrogant, a bully, and not smart. That he says he quit so he could run a marathon and then to work with his wife (because they home school their own kids) suggests his arrogance that people would believe it, especially when his “resignation” was accepted immediately the weekend before school hits. The weekend before his lauded work (maybe deservedly?) on the enterprise system would be tested at full load. President Kaler is not an idiot here. He got rid of an erupting problem because he already had too many scandals he had to manage (Norwood Teague, Psychiatry). What did Studham do that the top executives would force him out? That’s a journalistic question, and I hope the WSJ or one of the local outlets would investigate that. 

The list of comments continues to grow.  I will stop here, but readers may click the link for additional comments.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

At UT, he tried awarding a contract to a company set up in his wife's name. He hired the father of one of his cronies and "assoc CIOs" James Perry and then we were told James Perry Sr's name is Dan (Perry II is now at Univ SC doing same). His direct reports actively participated in a coordinated effort to manipulate performance evals. He hired his friends with Planet Technologies to do around two million dollars of "contract work" with nothing usable to show in production 12 months later. Yada yada yada. Yes, UT wanted him gone and, so far, they have did nothing to make up for career and family damage the administration knows resulted from this corrupt regime. Both Us need to fix the damage with settlements.
So, you expected UT to warn UM?