ATLANTA — Former Gov. Sonny Perdue will be paid $523,900 a year when he takes the reins on April 1 as chancellor of the University System of Georgia.
System spokesperson Lance Wallace said Friday that's the same amount that Steve Wrigley was making as chancellor before retiring last year.
USG's chancellor oversees policy decisions and curriculum development for the system. Becoming chancellor of a university system responsible for 26 public Georgia higher education institutions will be Perdue's first stab at education.
Perdue was the first Republican governor of Georgia in more than a century, serving two terms from 2003 to 2011. He then served as U.S. agriculture secretary under President Donald Trump from 2017 to 2021. Perdue earned his degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia. The agribusiness owner pivoted into politics first serving on the Georgia Senate where he chaired the Senate Higher Education Committee.
Despite that experience, critics have said Perdue is unqualified because he has never worked in an academic setting.
Gov. Brian Kemp supported Perdue's appointment. Kemp's realignment of the board may have removed opposition to naming Perdue after a stalemate that lasted more than six months after Wrigley had retired.
Perdue's cousin, former U.S. Sen. David Perdue, is challenging Kemp in the Republican primary for governor in May, but Sonny Perdue has stayed out of the race publicly.
Perdue appointed Kemp as secretary of state in early 2010, aiding Kemp’s primary bid for that office. And Trump, who is now opposing Kemp, has said Perdue talked him into endorsing Kemp in a 2018 Republican runoff for governor.