George Burnett, CEO of Alta Colleges, the parent company of Westwood College and Redstone College, will resign at the end of the month, but will remain on the board, a spokesman for the privately held company said Monday.
Burnett, a former Qwest executive, has led Alta and Westwood for the past five years, serving at a time when for-profit schools came under fire for high student default rates and aggressive sales tactics. Westwood’s alleged problems preceded Burnett, but came to the fore in in lawsuits and even a U.S. Senate hearing during his tenure. Burnett did not give a reason for his decision to leave his post.
Dean Gouin will replace Burnett as CEO, effective October 1. Gouin is a 15-year veteran at the company, having filled positions in human resources, financial aid, career development services, and student services before becoming chief operating officer of Westwood College.
“Dean is the right person to lead this company into the future because of his business and operational knowledge, his tenure with us, and his passion for serving our students, faculty and staff,” Burnett said in a statement.
Here are columns I’ve written about Westwood over the years. Burnett has weathered quite a storm, but was willing to sit down and talk about it and make changes at the school.
Ex-Nacchio Cronie Heads To College. Sept. 8, 2006.
A Drive-By Education Doesn’t Come Cheap. May 29, 2009.
An Education In Boiler Room Tactics. Aug. 7 2010.
Westwood College CEO Shaken Up After Senate Hearing. Aug. 10, 2010.