Gwendolyn Sykes, the chief financial officer that turned around NASA’s accounting issues, was recently named Yale University’s chief financial officer. The former CFO of NASA moved into her new position in July and reports directly to Vice President for Finance and Administration Shauna King.
Sykes, one of be’s Most Powerful Black Women in Business, will be responsible for the financial stewardship of the university, including budgeting, accounting, transaction management, financial reporting, internal control, and the integrity of financial information, points out King. Sykes will be managing a budget of approximately $22 billion. “A critical focus of Gwen’s will be on systems and process transformation, and the use of technology and process redesign to increase the efficiency and quality of core activities such as accounts payable, payroll, financial budgeting, and reporting,” adds King.
“I am looking forward to the fantastic opportunity of leading the Yale University financial team. I am honored to have had the opportunity to work at NASA and help to inspire the next generation of explorers. Now I look forward to developing the next generation of future leaders at Yale,” says Sykes.
Sykes was appointed CFO of NASA in 2003 by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. She oversaw the fiscal operations of the $16.5 billion space exploration program and led the agency to organize under one accounting system, successfully closing a $1.7 billion discrepancy gap in NASA’s books.
This won’t be Sykes’ first stint at an academic institution. She served as an adjunct professor with American University in the School of Public Affairs. “I was part of a unique team of individuals who made it their business to inspire students to be greater than themselves,” explains Sykes. “I hope to bring that same energy and passion to developing and sustaining a solid financial core at Yale.”