Los Angeles Times

USC names retired aerospace executive Wanda Austin as acting president, announces Nikias' departure

LOS ANGELES - The University of Southern California appointed a retired aerospace executive as interim president and laid out a detailed plan for selecting a permanent leader Tuesday, ending speculation about whether outgoing President C.L. Max Nikias might remain in the post.

Nikias, beleaguered over his administration's handling of a campus gynecologist accused of sexually abusing patients, relinquished his duties after a meeting of USC's board. The trustees tapped one of their own, Wanda Austin, an alumna and former president of the Aerospace Corp., to temporarily run the university.

The trustees also approved the formation of a search committee and the hiring of search company Isaacson, Miller to coordinate the selection of a successor. A second search company, Heidrick & Struggles, will also advise trustees.

"Our goal is to

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