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Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

James F. Brinkerhoff
The Michigan Alumnus 18

After five years at Minnesota, 
Jim Brinkerhoff is 'home' again
 as VP and chief financial officer
.

His Mission:
 Keeping Michigan Number One


Jim Brinkerhoff has a favorite
 motto by which he likes to operate.
 "If it weren't for them," it runs, 
"there'd be none of us."


What he means, obviously, is 
that, if it weren't for the Univer
sity's faculty, there wouldn't be any
 need to have administrators be
cause there wouldn't be any stu
dents to teach.


James F. Brinkerhoff has "come 
home" to the University of Michigan as vice president and chief 
financial officer (succeeding Wilbur 
K. Pierpont), a position most would
 acknowledge as among the top ad
ministrative jobs at the U-M.


Brinkerhoff "came home" after 
five years at the University of Minnesota as vice president for finance 
and development. He holds an 
MBA (1948) from Michigan and had 
been an administrator here before 
the Minnesota offer came.


Was it a difficult decision, elect
ing to return to Ann Arbor? "Both 
Marge (Mrs. Brinkerhoff) and I enjoyed the Twin Cities, the state of 
Minnesota and the University very
 much — but Ann Arbor has really 
been our home since 1947. I told the
 president of the University of Min
nesota that the University of Michi
gan is the only institution that I 
would have considered leaving
 Minnesota for."


Filling up his battered old pipe 
(with Amphora), Brinkerhoff said 
that his decision to return to Michi
gan was largely based on "which
 was the most interesting manage
ment challenge — to keep Number
 One as Number One or to be in the 
middle of the pack and driving for 
the Number One status. Obvi
ously, I thought that keeping 
Number One on top was the 
tougher of the problems."


Asked what he sees as the major
 problems facing the University to-
day, Brinkerhoff mentioned first 
"the obvious problem of morale in
 the faculty and staff. Trying to 
achieve a high morale when
 everyone has been operating under 
more and more stringent budget
 conditions creates a problem — and 
yet, I don't think it is in surmounta
ble. Dollars need not be the primary 
force in order to achieve a high level
 of incentive, a high level of initia
tive and a strong drive to succeed
 and to maintain top-flight academic 
departments."


Will the Brinkerhoff approach
 differ significantly from the Pierpont approach?


"The key difference, I suppose,
 would be the product of our dissimilar backgrounds. Bill came
 more through the academic enter
prise, rather than from industry, as 
I did. He came out of the cost ac
counting area and that may be con
trasted with my background in
 labor relations and general man
agement. I have always been more 
substantially at ease in the fields of 
personnel management and labor
 relations, but less at ease in the 
fields of accounting, cashiering 
functions and the investment area.
 That is not to say that Bill was insen
sitive to the personnel and human 
relations factors, nor is it to say that
 my five years at Minnesota didn't
 sensitize me to the needs of the ac
counting and financial operations
 of the institution.


"I guess that would pretty much 
highlight the difference in our approaches to the job. I suppose one
 other factor is that, in the last five to
 eight years, Bill has not participated
 as directly in the legislative or ap
propriations processes, where as I 
was thrown into that operation on a 
first-line basis at Minnesota."


Do you expect to be involved in
 those processes here?
 "That depends on what the
 president wishes in terms of the structure here, but it would cer
tainly indicate an area in which I've 
had some practical experience. "


"My initial objective is to famil
iarize myself with the internal op
erations that report to me. I will be 
spending a good deal of time with
 each of the deans and some major 
departments ... to find out how 
they visualize what's going on in 
their shops, both the good things 
and the bad things."


Brinkerhoff said he wants to be 
sure "there is a minimum of redun
dancy in activities on the campus.
 One of the things that concerns me 
is that, over the years, there's been a 
fairly substantial increase — quite 
appropriately — in the administra
tive capacity of the various deans'
 offices. I'm not sure that that has 
been offset by reductions in the 
central offices. I'm not dedicated to 
the concept that it's more efficient 
to do everything centrally because,
 as soon as you move along that line,
 you tend to lose the incentives
 which tire appropriate for the development of the capacity of the
 academic units."


As for his side interests, Jim
 Brinkerhoff likes golf and small boat 
sailing (they've maintained a cot
tage at nearby Base Lake, but unfor
tunately it burned to the ground
 while the Brinkerhoffs were attend
ing the Rose Bowl game).


"I'm always having some novel
 or another going, but my primary 
at-home reading is business read
ing because my days are pretty well 
taken up by meetings." Do you
 watch TV? "Basically I watch foot
ball, Big Ten basketball and Baa Baa
 Blacksheep. I enjoy that since I was 
in the Pacific during World War II."


In his earlier days in Ann Arbor,
 Jim Brinkerhoff served on the Ann
 Arbor City Council (as a Republican), as chairman of the United 
Fund, as president of the Rotary 
Club, and in many of the chairs at 
the First Presbyterian Church.


If you had your absolute choice,
 Jim Brinkerhoff, what job would
 you be in today?
" I would like to be vice president 
and chief financial officer of the
 University of Michigan — in Cored
 Gables, Florida."

His battered pipe in place, James Brink
erhoff (left) discusses his goals as the 
U-M's new vice president and chief financial officer.