Effective July 1, Geoff Gray, Hugh McColl Jr. and Michael Smith will begin their duties on the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees. The three were appointed recently by the UNC Board of Governors, which also reappointed current trustee, Christine Katziff.
“We are grateful these leaders have agreed to serve on the board,” said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “Their expertise and leadership will be critical as we fulfill our vision as a top-tier research university dedicated to student access and success.”
The UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees is comprised of 13 members; eight are elected by the UNC Board of Governors, and four are appointed by the General Assembly. Additionally, the University’s Student Government Association president serves a one-year term. Two additional board members will be appointed by the General Assembly in the coming months.
About Geoff Gray
Gray serves as a partner and executive vice president of enterprise sales for Signature Consultants, founded in 1997. He has more than 20 years of sales, business development, management and leadership experience in the information technology field. Previously one of the largest privately held IT staffing firms, Signature Consultants was acquired by DISYS in April 2021. Gray now holds an executive leadership and counsel role with DISYS.
“From my time as a student at UNC Charlotte through leading a top IT search and talent firm, I have seen the University transform from around 17,000 students into a powerhouse University of 30,000 that is fueling the talent pipeline for this region,” said Gray. “I understand firsthand the power of experiencing a Charlotte education.”
In the early 1990s, Gray studied political science at UNC Charlotte. At Charlotte, he started the Crew Club and has remained an avid 49ers fan, formerly serving on the Athletic Foundation Board. He is a member of the UNC Charlotte Foundation Board.
A native of Charlotte and active in the community, Gray is on the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance Executive Committee, chairing its Revenue Committee. An avid golf fan, he chaired the host committee for the 2022 PGA Presidents Cup held at Quail Hollow Club.
About Hugh L. McColl Jr.
McColl, co-founder and chairman emeritus of Falfurrias Group, previously served as chairman and CEO of Bank of America. During his tenure with the bank, it grew 50-fold, expanding its offerings of financial products and services across the United States to become an industry leader in retail, commercial, corporate and investment banking. In 2021, McColl, along with several partners, founded BrightHope Capital to invest in minority firms.
A champion of UNC Charlotte’s role in advancing the growth of the region, McColl continues to leave his mark on the University. He was an early backer of Charlotte 49ers football, and players in Jerry Richardson Stadium take to the McColl-Richardson Field, named in recognition of his financial support of the program. He also endowed a scholarship in history to support UNC Charlotte students in their academic pursuits. A counsel to Charlotte’s five chancellors, McColl was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1989 for his business and civic leadership on behalf of the University, city, state and nation. He previously served on the board from 1989-92.
“I strongly believe that UNC Charlotte is crucial to our city and region’s success and should be recognized for the pivotal role it plays in our collective future,” said McColl. “I share Chancellor Gaber’s vision to build this University into a top-tier institution, and I am excited to help her achieve it.”
A graduate of UNC Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, McColl has a long-standing commitment to advancing education. At Chapel Hill, the McColl Building is home to the Kenan-Flagler School of Business. At Queens University of Charlotte, McColl served as a trustee for 19 years; its business school bears his name. Prior to college, McColl served in the U.S. Marine Corps for two years.
In 2021, McColl along with Lloyd Yates, former Duke Energy North Carolina president, and Malcomb Coley, Carolinas managing partner of EY, founded BrightHope Capital to advance minority firms; its initial investment was R.J. Leeper Construction Company.
About Michael Smith
Smith serves as president and CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners, a 45-year-old economic and community development organization that envisions and implements strategies and actions to assure that Center City Charlotte is a welcoming and equitable, economically vibrant, culturally rich and beloved place for all.
Smith is a proven community builder and innovator with over 20 years of nonprofit leadership experience and trusted relationships across the Charlotte region and North Carolina. His background blends corporate, entrepreneurial and nonprofit experience.
He has been a driving force behind a number of city-building initiatives, creating and helping shape initiatives that have advanced the landscape for Charlotte in sustainability, economic development, retail development, urban neighborhoods, homelessness, transit and hospitality.
He holds an MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and an undergraduate degree from UNC Chapel Hill.
“I am honored to serve on the Charlotte Board of Trustees and build upon the outstanding work of previous leaders,” Smith said. “The University is one of our most powerful economic engines, attracting and preparing talented young men and women to meet the growing needs of our state and region. The University is entering an exciting next chapter, playing an even more vital role for our region. One example is their leadership, as an anchor institution, in our Center City North Tryon Tech Hub.”
An experienced civic leader, Smith is past chairman of the Board of Directors for the International Downtown Association. He also serves on a number of regional boards, including Boy Scouts of America Mecklenburg County Council, UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business, the Charlotte Sports Foundation, and the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance.
About Christine Katziff
Katziff, initially appointed a Charlotte trustee in 2019, is chair of the Board of Trustees Audit, Compliance and Enterprise Risk Management Committee. Previously, she was a member of the Belk College of Business Board of Advisors.
“I have been impressed with the strong leadership of Chancellor Gaber and the great strides she is making in leading UNC Charlotte toward national recognition as a top-tier research institution,” said Katziff. “I’m pleased to continue my service with the University and look forward to welcoming our newest trustees in our work.”
As Bank of America’s chief audit executive, Katziff is a member of the company’s executive management team. She reports directly to the bank’s Audit Committee of the Board of Directors and its CEO. A graduate of Bryant University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Katziff earned an MBA from the University of Hartford.
Katziff leads the global division that provides independent assessments of the company’s business strategies, all business segments, technology, operations, risk framework, financial management and credit standards in support of the bank’s focus on responsible growth.
Additionally, she is executive vice chair of Bank of America’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Council. Katziff is also the executive sponsor for Bank of America’s Investing in Women Leadership Council, a committee of senior leaders who are championing the company’s investment in women and leading cultural change to positively impact female employees around the world.
An advocate for wellness and higher education, Katziff serves as vice chair on the board of directors for Novant Health. She is also a member of Bryant University’s Board of Trustees and has also served on the Campaign Committee for Central Piedmont Community College.
Katziff is Bank of America’s executive sponsor of the Charlotte market and serves on the board of directors of Charlotte Center City Partners.