The University of Hawaii’s athletic fundraising organization, ‘Ahahui Koa Anuenue, is looking for its second president and chief executive officer in just over three years.
Jon Kobayashi, who has held the position since Jan. 3, 2014, is departing effective Jan. 13, 2017, the school announced.
In an email to the organization’s board of directors today, Kobayashi said “I have decided to leave next month and will pursue an opportunity to resume my legal career in Honolulu.”
Kobayashi previously was general manager for a hotel in Washington state for seven years and was a partner in a Honolulu law firm for 13 years.
His departure from AKA comes in the wake of a critical independent audit presented to the school’s Board of Regents earlier this month.
In 2014 a realigned AKA moved into the athletic department after operating out of the UH Foundation and was tasked with adding new revenue streams for the department.
But a statement released by the athletic department earlier this month said, “The reality of achieving the financial improvements as quickly as anticipated have been challenging for a variety of reasons. As a result, while there have been successes in certain areas, overall fundraising has not achieved the levels originally anticipated.”
Athletic director David Matlin has told regents athletic fundraising was lagging $1.4 million behind the average of its peers.
In a statement released by UH Friday, Kobayashi said, “I am proud of the AKA team and what we were able to accomplish over the last three years, despite challenging circumstances, and I am deeply grateful for their hard work and commitment.”
Kobayashi said, “The decision to leave AKA was difficult but ultimately the right one for me and my family at this juncture.”
UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said, “The plan is to reevaluate the structure of the organization before moving forward with any staffing decisions. All of our stakeholders will all be involved in this conversation.”
Matlin said in a statement, “We appreciate Jon’s efforts and commitment to UH Athletics and AKA. We wish him well as he pursues his legal career and thank him for making a difference for our student athletes.”