Scripps/UC San Diego Recruits Top Executive to Lead Finance and Operations


Steve Gallagher, a financial management and facilities operations executive with experience at several scientific organizations, has been selected to serve as assistant vice chancellor for finance and operations at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.

Gallagher’s career for the past 28 years has included a number of roles in management and program leadership at scientific organizations, including positions as regional administrator, deputy chief financial officer, deputy chief administrative officer, director of budget and planning, and project manager. Gallagher served as director of budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Washington, D.C. with duties that included planning and executing NOAA’s budget of more than $6 billion in annual expenditures, 17,000 employees, and 400 facilities.

Most recently, Gallagher served as the executive director and site manager for NOAA’s Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center (IRC) in Honolulu, Hawaii. The IRC consolidated 16 NOAA offices into a 310,000 square-foot facility with space for more than 700 NOAA employees and contractors. His duties included governance, operations, financial management, and planning.

“Scripps and UC San Diego are thrilled to have recruited such an experienced executive to lead our financial and operations units,” said Margaret Leinen, UC San Diego’s vice chancellor for marine science and director of Scripps Oceanography. “From facilities planning and construction to financial oversight, Scripps Oceanography’s vibrant research and education operations require a highly-skilled business executive with a unique set of experience and skills. That’s what we’ve landed with Steve Gallagher.”

“Steve Gallagher has provided superb leadership to NOAA in several critical positions over his distinguished career,” said Edward Horton, chief administrative officer for NOAA. “Most recently he served as site manager for the newly constructed Inouye Regional Center in Hawaii where he consolidated NOAA operations across Oahu into a new facility at Pearl Harbor. Steve’s experience make him extremely well qualified for his exciting new role with Scripps Institution. We look forward to working with Steve in his new role.”

Gallagher’s work experience includes serving as lead NOAA executive for coordinating budget and financial matters with the Office of Management and Budget and the U.S. Congress. He also was responsible for advising NOAA leadership on all key budget and resource management matters, including investments in new technology, equipment, services, and facilities.

“Steve Gallagher’s depth and breadth of experience with NOAA will be a terrific asset to Scripps Institution of Oceanography,” said Pierre Ouillet, vice chancellor and chief financial officer for UC San Diego. “His strategic approach, his ability to innovate, and his collegiality will benefit UC San Diego as a whole. I look forward to working closely with him.”

In addition to vital state and federal funding, Scripps Oceanography and UC San Diego look to diversify funding sources with a major emphasis on private fundraising. Scripps Oceanography recently received two transformative private gifts: $6 million from Price Philanthropies for an endowment that supports K-12 ocean science education programs at UC San Diego’s Birch Aquarium at Scripps and a $5 million gift from Richard and Carol Dean Hertzberg for a new climate impacts and adaptation center at Scripps. UC San Diego’s goal is to launch a campus-wide fundraising campaign in November 2016.

“I am honored to be selected for the position and looking forward to joining the Scripps Oceanography leadership team.” said Gallagher. “I have enjoyed working with Scripps during my tenure at NOAA and look forward to supporting and advancing its world-class education and research mission.”

Gallagher replaces Doug Bennett, who served as assistant vice chancellor at Scripps Oceanography from December 2006 to August 2015.

With society facing a host of daunting challenges and opportunities—climate change impacts and adaptation, human health and the oceans, Earth hazards, and new technologies and strategies for observing the planet, Gallagher helps solidify Scripps Oceanography’s leadership team moving forward.

Gallagher holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics from Indiana University and he attended graduate school at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

Born in Liverpool, England, Gallagher moved to the United States at an early age and will be relocating to the San Diego area along with his wife Ashley.

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