KGVO News received word just after 8:00 a.m. on Thursday on that UM President Royce Engstrom would be resigning from office as of December 31.

Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian met with reporters at Main Hall to answer questions about Engstrom's resignation. KGVO News asked Christian about the timeline as to what led up to Thursday's announcement.

"President Engstrom and I have been visiting about this for several weeks," Christian said. "I've had a thought that we're in a spot where a change in leadership, and we've had good robust conversations about what that may or may not look like along the way."

Christian was asked if he specifically asked Engstrom to resign.

":I certainly started the conversation, but I think we've come to this decision together," he said. "My role is to look at where we want to be in three, five or ten years and I think after what the president has accomplished, it's time to move on to the next generation."

Christian was asked if the newly hired presidential cabinet members would be secure under a new administration.

"They're absolutely secure," he said. "I think they're great appointments and the president has done a a lot to strengthen that cabinet. Specifically, Dr. Tom Crady is already making a difference. Their spots are secure, and their positions are in no way tied to the president's position whatsoever."

Christian addressed the search for a new president, first naming former Commissioner of Higher Education Sheila Sterns as the interim president.

"Sheila's a great choice," he said. "She brings to the table a long list of success stories that go back with this institution to 1969 and as the former commissioner, she understands the system. We'll hire a search firm and then formulate a search committee. We want to do this when we're in session. We'll do off-site interviews, hopefully sometime in the spring, and then eventually, we hope to bring several candidates to the campus and also have some public forums. This isn't an expedited search, we're not rushing through this. We won't hold to any schedule. The truth is, whatever it is, it is."

Hear the entire press conference in the attached video.