Western confirmed on Thursday that Chirag Shah, chair of the Board of Governors, is stepping down from his position at the end of the year.

Shah will serve out the rest of his first term until December 31 and the Board will appoint a new chair at its meeting on November 26, according to a news release. Shah started his term as chair of the Board on January 1, 2014. Chairs typically serve between two to three years in the position.

“The strength of Western’s Board lies in its breadth of representation – from faculty, staff, students, alumni and external volunteers. I feel privileged to have served as chair of this board that is composed of so many dynamic and strong leaders,” Shah said in a statement. “I am very proud to be part of the many achievements of this board.”

Shah was at the centre of an independent report into the deal that gave President Amit Chakma a cash payout in 2014 equal to a year's pay in addition to his regular salary. Conducted by Stephen Goudge, a former Ontario Court of Appeals judge, the report found that the provision that allowed for a year's pay in lieu of an administrative leave was not in line with peer institutions.

Chakma praised Shah's time on the board.

“Mr. Shah has served the board and the University with distinction and dignity,” said Chakma in a statement. “During his term, a new strategic plan, Achieving Excellence on the World Stage, and the new campus master plan were approved.”

President of the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association, Kristin Hoffmann, said it was time for a new chair after the events of this spring and summer.

"We think that Mr. Shah's decision not to seek another term on the board is appropriate given what was revealed in the Goudge report earlier this fall," Hoffmann said. "And we see this as an opportunity for the Board of Governors to appoint a new chair who will put the board's focus back where it belongs on the teaching and research that are at the core of the university."
She added the next chair will have to restore trust in the Board.
"I think the university community and our members will be looking for a chair who is willing to put work in restoring trust that was damaged in the spring with the double payment scandal and who is able to really build a connection with the university community that our members feel hasn't been there."