Leonard Ferrari ()
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The ousted No. 2 from the Naval Postgraduate School has been selected for another prestigious post: As an innovation executive for the Navy’s research arm.
Leonard Ferrari, who was fired in November as the Monterey, Calif., school’s provost and academic dean after the Naval Inspector General found he had improperly accepted gifts, will become an associate director in Office of Naval Research Global’s London office, an ONR spokesman said.
Ferrari, an computer engineer and expert in signal processing, will be paid a salary of $155,000 a year for the two-year assignment that starts in July, said ONR spokesman Peter Vietti.
“He’s going to interface with foreign innovators — the innovators will be in the research community — to identify promising science and research programs and centers of excellence to match what they’re doing to the Navy’s needs,” Vietti said. “It’s really finding the best and brightest and the most promising.”
At NPS, Ferrari inappropriately spent thousands of dollars donated by a private foundation on lunches, wine, souvenirs and trips for himself and faculty members, thousands of dollars that the IG found were not properly accounted for. Ferrari and his boss, retired Vice Adm. Dan Oliver, who had his own improper gift fund, were cited for fostering a culture of “defiance” of gift-acceptance rules. Oliver, who was also fired, resigned from NPS.
During his six years as provost, Ferrari rebranded NPS as a research university and pushed his faculty to attain more grants. This effort brought many more millions in the door but undercut the school’s primary mission, educating mid-career officers in career-relevant studies, the IG found.
“It’s kind of time for me to move forward, go to ONR Global,” Ferrari said in a phone call. “I will be working on information dominance and similar topics” at ONR Global, he explained.
On the phone call, Ferrari declined to comment on the IG report, but took issue with some of the IG report’s findings in a later email.
“I believe we made every attempt to remain in compliance, even when the issues facing us were surrounded by complex legislation,” Ferrari said in the email. “Our relationships with the NPS Foundation is a good example of a case where it was assumed that decades of common practice processes had been vetted and approved at the highest levels of the [Defense Department] and [Navy Department].”
Vietti, the ONR spokesman, was unable to say whether Ferrari would accept gift funds in his new posting, a personnel move first reported by the The Herald of Monterey.
Rear Adm. Jan Tighe is the interim NPS president until a permanent replacement is named. A new provost arrives in early June, said NPS spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Bill Clinton.
During his ONR stint, Ferrari will retain his tenured post at NPS, Clinton said.