UC President Janet Napolitano announces plans to step down

Janet Napolitano

University of California President Janet Napolitano announced Wednesday she will step down in August 2020.

Napolitano made the announcement at a meeting of the university's Board of Regents in Los Angeles.

"My time at UC has been deeply gratifying and rewarding. I have been honored and inspired every day to serve this institution alongside incredibly dedicated, passionate people," Napolitano said in a statement. "The decision was tough - and this moment, bittersweet - but the time is right."

Her statement did not elaborate on reasons for her departure.

A former U.S. secretary of homeland security and Democratic governor of Arizona, Napolitano became the first woman to lead the 10-campus University of California system in September 2013.

Napolitano, 61, has battled a recurrence of breast cancer over the years.

During her tenure as UC president, Napolitano has overseen an expansion of the university system, enrolling historic numbers of students, supporting the rights of immigrant students and reforming policies on sexual misconduct.

She also faced criticism after a state audit found problems with her office's financial management and said that Napolitano had improperly interfered in the audit to tone down critical comments from campus administrators.