E. Gordon Gee, president of The Ohio State University, announced Tuesday he will retire on July 1, after spending the better part of a week apologizing for a series of controversial comments.
Gee said in a statement he decided to step down during a vacation last week, the Associated Press reports.
"During my days away, I also spent some time in self-reflection. And after much deliberation, I have decided it is now time for me to turn over the reins of leadership to allow the seeds that we have planted to grow," Gee said. "It is also time for me to re-energize and refocus myself."
The AP reported last week that at a Dec. 5 meeting, Gee made comments insulting rival schools, including some directed at the University of Notre Dame and Catholics.
Gee apologized for the comments, but the OSU board of trustees warned he could end up getting fired over the gaffes.
Gee, 69, has an esteemed resume, having served as chancellor of Vanderbilt University, and president of Brown University, West Virginia University and the University of Colorado, in addition to two terms as chief of OSU.
At times, Gee took heat in recent years for having one of the largest compensation packages among public university presidents in the country, ranked as the highest paid in 2010. Gee spent $64,000 on bow ties, bow tie snacks and bow tie pins part of $7.7 million in expenses over the course of five years. The university defended Gee's expenses and salary by pointing out that he was excellent at "resource generation" -- bringing in donations. Gee was also noted for his help recruiting athletes.
OSU board of trustees chairman Robert H. Schottenstein praised Gee in a statement Tuesday.
"By any measure, Gordon has been a transformational leader for Ohio State," Schottenstein said. "His service to Ohio State has been superb. This man has been an inspiration to many people, including me, and we all are forever grateful for his friendship."
Gee also faced criticism when he ran Brown, leaving office after two years following significant backlash from faculty over the way he ran the Ivy League university.
Joseph A. Alutto, executive vice president and provost at OSU, will step in temporarily until trustees pick a permanent replacement for Gee, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
"I plan to work closely with the Trustees and Dr. Alutto to ensure the smoothest transition possible," Gee said in his statement. "I cannot express enough my deep appreciation to the people of Ohio for the opportunity they have given me to lead this great university. I love this university, and although I might be retiring from the presidency, my work with Ohio State will continue. No matter what the future may hold for me, Ohio is my home."