Gann, who was president of the Vancouver Island Technology Park, has been removed from his position at the Markham Road facility.
He appears to be the only casualty in the restructuring that UVic hopes will provide “strategic leadership of the entire non-academic real estate portfolio.”
In a post on the Vancouver Island Technology Park website and in email sent to the park’s tenants, UVic said it will be creating a new CEO position to oversee all of those assets.
“Over the past 12 years, UVic’s non-academic property holdings off campus have increased substantially, to the point where the university now has significant holdings including ongoing businesses and properties that provide support for innovation and commercialization such as Vancouver Island Technology Park and other properties,” it said.
The university went on to say it would be looking for someone with broad expertise in real estate portfolio management who would be able to “optimize the return to the university and enhance the long-term value of this incredibly diverse portfolio.”
The portfolio includes a number of properties bequeathed to UVic by businessman Michael Williams, who died in 2000. Those include Swans Hotel and Brew Pub, the Legacy Gallery at 630 Yates St. and a number of properties in the 500-block of Johnson Street.
According to UVic’s post, the broader responsibilities of the new CEO will make Gann’s position redundant.
Gann ran unsuccessfully as the Conservative party candidate in last fall’s federal byelection in Victoria, won by Murray Rankin. Gann could not be reached for comment Friday.
UVic also did not make a representative available Friday.
A current tenant of the park, who asked not to be named, called the move “disgusting” and that a vacuum has been created within the high-tech industry.
“They propose to replace him with a real estate salesman. This park doesn’t need a real estate salesman. It needs someone of the calibre, experience and background of someone like Gann who can forge ahead with a vision of the future in the high-tech industry,” he said.
In its posting, the university did express thanks to Gann for his role in building out the Tech Park.
Glynn Jones, currently controller for UVic Properties, will be responsible for the day to day administration at the park until the chief executive of the real estate portfolio is appointed. That search is underway.
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