Gov. Tony Evers' appointees now make up the majority of the Board of Regents, just as the panel is preparing to start a new search for the University of Wisconsin System president.
A former regent himself given his previous position as the head of the Department of Public Instruction, Evers on Friday announced three appointees to the board, giving him nine picks compared to former Republican Gov. Scott Walker's seven. In all, there are 18 members of the body, though just 16 are appointed.
Evers' new appointees include CEO and President of Prevea Health Ashok Rai and student member Brianna Tucker, a freshman at UW-Stevens Point. He also reappointed Regent John Miller, who Evers first appointed in February after the death of Regent José Delgado.
The appointees officially begin their terms on May 1, a month before members are slated to meet to choose the new Regent president. That position is then responsible for assembling a search committee to vet candidates for UW System president.
The new search for a system president could start in July, Wisconsin Public Radio reported this week — a year after a controversial and failed search process led by Regent Vice President Michael Grebe produced one finalist, University of Alaska's Jim Johnsen, who later withdrew from consideration.
Regent President Andrew Petersen then appointed former Gov. Tommy Thompson to lead the system in the interim.
Grebe is planning to run for Regent president come June, and he told WPR he expects to win. Given the new majority on the board, though, it's possible he could face a challenge from an Evers appointee.