Ivan Samstein joins University as vice president and chief financial officer

Ivan Samstein, the current chief financial officer for Cook County and a longtime leader in public finance, has been appointed vice president and chief financial officer for the University of Chicago, following a national search. His appointment is effective June 26.

As CFO for Cook County, Samstein has had primary responsibility for the budget, capital and debt structure for the second-largest county government and associated health system in the country. During Samstein’s tenure, he has successfully designed and led several transformative projects in financial operations, technology, program-based budgeting and performance metric-driven management. He previously held positions as an investment banker and a financial analyst.

At UChicago, Samstein will help lead integrated strategic financial planning and provide oversight for the execution of the University’s work in financial analysis and functions, information technology and human resources. 

“Ivan will work to ensure that ongoing analysis, discipline and appropriate organization best support and serve the ambitious academic mission and priorities of the University,” said President Robert J. Zimmer. “He will work closely with the provost and me, as well as with deans, officers and the board of trustees.”

Before he joined Cook County in 2012, Samstein was a director in the public finance department at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he served as lead banker on a large portfolio of fixed-income securities from 2004-11. As assistant vice president in public finance for Moody’s Investors Service from 1999-2004, he evaluated fiscal, debt, budgetary, and risk management policies and procedures of municipalities across the Midwest. 

“The University of Chicago is not only one of the world’s leading academic institutions, but is also an anchor for the greater Chicago economy and has an active commitment to that role. That is one of the things that attracted me to this position,” Samstein said. “I look forward to taking on this exciting new challenge and continuing to build out the University’s financial administrative function.”

Samstein holds a bachelor of arts in economics, magna cum laude, from Hunter College of the City University of New York, and he earned an MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.