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L.A.'s Chief Administrative Officer Named New VP and Treasurer of Pomona College

Karen Sisson, who holds the top management job in Los Angeles’ city government, has been appointed Vice President and Treasurer of Pomona College effective July 1, 2008.

“Karen is a forward-thinking administrator, known for her financial acumen, integrity and ability to build consensus among constituencies,” said Pomona College President David W. Oxtoby. “I’m very pleased to have someone with her experience and reputation stepping into this key role for the College.’’

A 1979 Pomona graduate, Sisson will become the College’s chief financial and investment officer, responsible for managing an annual operating budget of more than $130 million and an endowment of more than $1.7 billion, as well as overseeing such functions as human resources, campus planning/construction and property management. She will take on the role at a time when Pomona, one of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges, is preparing to carry out an ambitious strategic plan involving major capital projects, including a new arts district and dormitories.

“I am thrilled and excited to have been selected for such an important position at an institution whose values I treasure and endorse, ” Sisson said. “I look forward to the challenges ahead and to being a part of a great management team.”

Carlene Miller, the College’s Vice President and Treasurer since 1989, in September announced her plans to retire at the end of the 2007-2008 fiscal year.

As Chief Administrative Officer for the nation’s second-largest city, Sisson currently holds the highest-ranking non-elected position in Los Angeles’ government structure, responsible for fiscal matters, including the city’s $7 billion budget. She is the first woman to hold the position, to which she was promoted in 2006 by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Sisson had previously served a successful stint as a deputy mayor/budget director, responsible for developing Villaraigosa’s 2006-2007 budget, which was passed unanimously by the City Council. During her career, she has won wide praise for her straightforward style, with L.A. Weekly writing in 2006 that Sisson “wowed neighborhood council leaders last year with her pithy, one-woman primer on the budget, giving them a frank yet comprehensible message about what the city can and cannot afford.”

Before her roles at City Hall, she served nine years as chief financial officer of Los Angeles World Airports, where she helped LAX stay on track financially after the 9/11 terror attacks. The financial plan led to an AA bond rating from Standard & Poor’s— a first for that type of airport financing.

Sisson also has worked as a senior finance officer for L.A.’s Community Redevelopment Agency, an assistant city treasurer of Pasadena and an assistant vice president for Chemical Bank in New York. Along with her B.A. in international relations from Pomona College, Sisson holds an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.

Pomona College is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts institutions, offering a comprehensive program in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Its hallmarks include small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research. Pomona is the founding member of The Claremont Colleges, a unique consortium of five undergraduate and two graduate institutions.