Universal Technical Institute, Inc., a leading provider of transportation technician training, announced several changes to its senior leadership team to further support the company’s transformation and profitable growth, while continuing to deliver strong student outcomes and service to industry customers.
• Todd Hitchcock joined the company as chief strategy and transformation officer
• Lori Smith promoted to chief information officer
• National search underway for chief commercial officer
Hitchcock, who has been consulting for UTI for two years, has been named to the newly created position of senior VP – chief strategy and transformation officer, effective Jan. 6, 2020. In this role, he will oversee implementation of the company’s current strategy and lead UTI’s work to identify and leverage new opportunities for growth.
“Todd is truly a transformational leader, and an excellent addition to UTI’s deep and talented leadership team,” said Jerome Grant, UTI’s CEO. “His experience and insights will allow us to innovate even more quickly and to explore new organic growth initiatives, as well as opportunities to acquire adjacent capabilities and build business-to-business programs and services.”
Hitchcock has more than 20 years of leadership experience in the education sector. As president of Red Leaf Advising, a higher education consulting company, he had been advising UTI for more than two years before formally joining the company and played a key role in shaping and executing on the company’s transformation plan. Prior to that, Hitchcock served as COO of Pearson Embanet, as senior VP for Pearson Learning Solutions, and as VP of Florida Virtual School’s Global Services division.
UTI also announced the promotion of Smith to the position of senior VP – chief information officer, with responsibility for evolving the company’s technology and business intelligence strategies and infrastructure in support of its growth initiatives.
“Lori brings a unique blend of innovative thinking, sector experience and institutional knowledge,” Grant said. “She created and led UTI’s business intelligence vision and strategy, and helped us bring our transformation plan to life. As we move into this next phase of growth, her experience and perspective will be immeasurably valuable.”
Smith has been with UTI for 25 years and has held a number of leadership positions across several functional areas. As VP, business intelligence and compliance, a role she has held since 2009, she led the company’s successful initiatives to improve data accuracy, consistency, timeliness, relevance and visibility. In addition, she was responsible for UTI’s national accreditation with the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), as well as state licensing and compliance for all UTI locations across the country. Smith has also served as controller, and, as VP of student services and VP of financial aid/student services, she shaped the programs that support UTI students as they pursue a quality technical education.
As part of its ongoing work to evolve marketing and admissions, UTI has created and is actively searching to fill a new role, senior VP – chief commercial officer (CCO), which will lead the company’s new, integrated approach to student engagement. As a result of this shift in responsibilities, Piper Jameson, executive VP – chief marketing officer, has left the company to pursue other interests.
“UTI has now established a consistent record of start growth largely due to the shifts we have made in marketing and admissions. The creation of a CCO position speaks to our focus on optimizing interactions with students from lead generation to graduation, and to the results we believe this approach can deliver for our students and our business,” Grant said. “We thank Piper for her work to help us build a strong foundation for this transformation and wish her all the best.”