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U of M President to resign from corporate board position

The Board approved a "conflict management plan" back in December after she informed them about the position. The plan was approved by a vote of 9-3.
Credit: KARE
The U of M Board of Regents on Tuesday unanimously approved Joan Gabel as the institution's 17th President.

MINNEAPOLIS — University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel will resign from her position on the Board of Directors at Securian Bank.

According to a statement Monday from the U of M Board of Regents, Gabel wrote a letter informing them of the decision amid calls for an investigation after the board approved a "conflict management plan" back in December.

"Her decision is welcomed by the Board of Regents," the statement reads, in part. "We find it to be a decision that serves the public interest and reaffirms the President's unwavering commitment to advance the mission of the University of Minnesota."

Among the critics was former Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson, who called the arrangement between Gabel and Securian a "very, very serious conflict of interest."

According to the school's Institutional Conflict Review Panel, the university pays about $4.6 million per year to a Securian affiliate named Minnesota Life for employee life insurance. Furthermore, although Securian transferred the U's retirement plans to Fidelity a few years ago, Securian still holds $1.3 billion in so-called "legacy" accounts with the school.

"Since that time, concerns have been raised over the President's ability to serve both the University and a private company board, as well as the impact, if any, of a September 2019 consent agenda recommendation related to Securian on the CMP (conflict management plan) previously approved by the Board of Regents," the statement reads. "We have been in discussion with the President this past week as to how to appropriately address the circumstances to respect the interests of all concerned, especially the University and the public. President Gabel's decision to resign from the Securian Board resolves those concerns and we appreciate her willingness to do so."

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