University of California President Mark Yudof said Friday he plans to step down as head of one of the nation's leading systems of higher education, citing a "spate of taxing health issues."
Yudof, 68, said he will end his tenure on Aug. 31, about five years after he became the 19th president of the 10-campus system. The former law professor plans to return to teaching law on the UC Berkeley campus.
"The prior 18 months brought a spate of taxing health issues," Yudof said in a statement. "Though these challenges have been largely overcome, I feel it is time to make a change in my professional lifestyle."
The UC Board of Regents is expected to create a committee to search for Yudof's replacement, UC officials said.
In June 2008, Yudof replaced Robert Dynes as leader of the UC system, which has five medical centers, three national laboratories and 220,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
Before coming to California, the Philadelphia native was chancellor of the University of Texas system from 2002 to 2008 and president of the University of Minnesota system from 1997 to 2002.
Yudof has led the University of California through a tumultuous period, when deep cuts in state funding led to sharp tuition hikes, cuts to academic programs and rowdy campus protests.
The university's finances are expected to stabilize. In his 2013-2014 budget, Gov. Jerry Brown proposed increasing state funding for UC by $250 million, a boost made possible by the November passage of his Proposition 30 tax initiative.
"Beyond personal considerations, this also appears to be an apt time for the University to bring in fresh leadership," Yudof said. "Now, it appears the storm has been weathered. We are not fully in the clear, but we are much closer than we were even a few months ago."
Yudof has received an annual base salary of $591,000 since his appointment in 2008. UC Berkeley will set his new salary once he joins the law school faculty. He is expected to receive a $230,000 annual pension after he retires from UC.
Yudof will be the third head of a California higher-education system to step down in one year. Jack Scott was replaced by Brice Harris as chancellor of California Community Colleges in September, and Charles Reed was succeeded by Tim White as chancellor of the California State University system in December.
Assembly Speaker John Pérez, who is a member of the UC Board of Regents, said Yudof was "an exceptional leader, particularly during a difficult period in the history of the UC."