Matthew Sapienza

Matthew Sapienza

Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer

Matthew Sapienza is the Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer at The City University of New York (CUNY), where he is responsible for overseeing and managing the finances and business relationships of CUNY’s 25 colleges and professional schools and for the University’s central administration.

In his current role, Mr. Sapienza has responsibility for the overall management of $3 billion in state and city tax-levy operating funds, and more than $1 billion in tuition revenues. Read More

He directly supervises the University Budget Office, the Office of the University Controller, the Office of Treasury Services and the Office of University Strategic Sourcing. These offices engage in financial activities related to budget management, accounting, financial reporting, treasury and cash management, endowment management, procurement, accounts payable, financial aid disbursements, and shared services for financial operations.  Mr. Sapienza’s career spans a period of over 25 years of distinguished public service in senior level budget and finance administration.  He was appointed Senior Vice Chancellor in September 2016 after serving in three other key finance positions at CUNY: Vice Chancellor of Budget and Finance (from 2014 to 2016), Associate Vice Chancellor of Budget and Finance (from 2009 to 2013) and University Budget Director (from 2004 to 2009).

At CUNY, Mr. Sapienza was instrumental in the development and implementation of the CUNY Compact, an innovative financing strategy that earned national recognition.  Under his leadership, the Office of Budget and Finance has continually generated operational efficiencies and strengthened the fiscal integrity of the University.  These accomplishments include achieving reductions in administrative spending and energy costs, significantly improving Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) participation throughout the University, obtaining unmodified opinions on the University’s financial statements, and implementing shared services models in purchasing and accounts payable for multiple campuses.

Before becoming University Budget Director, Mr. Sapienza served over 11 years at the New York City Department of Education (DOE). During his last four years at DOE he was Deputy Budget Director. In this capacity, he provided leadership to line managers and also was responsible for maintenance, oversight and reporting of the school system’s $12 billion budget. Mr. Sapienza also served as a policy-level resource to executive management on key financial issues and represented the DOE in high-level dealings involving fiscal oversight at the city, state and federal levels. Prior to this, he worked for five years as a Senior Budget Analyst for the New York City Fire Department.

Mr. Sapienza holds a BBA in Finance from Pace University’s Lubin School of Business, and an MBA in Finance from St. John’s University.

Christina Chiappa

Deputy Chief Financial Officer

Christina Chiappa is the Deputy Chief Financial Officer at The City University of New York (CUNY), where she directly supports the Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer in overseeing and managing the financial activities of CUNY’s 25 colleges and professional schools and of the University’s system office. Read More

Mrs. Chiappa has had a distinguished career in the higher education, not-for-profit and public accounting sectors spanning more than 17 years. She was appointed as CUNY’s Deputy Chief Financial Officer in January 2015 after serving in three other key finance positions at CUNY: Director of Management Analysis and Chief of Staff (July 2012 to December 2014), Deputy Controller (November 2006 to October 2008) and Associate Controller of Accounting and Financial Reporting (January 2003 to October 2006). In her Deputy Controller and Associate Controller roles she was responsible for preparing six consecutive high quality and timely sets of financial statements, for developing and implementing a plan for improving the consistency and accuracy of the University’s accounting and financial reporting and directed the launch of the CUNYfirst General Ledger.

In between her tenure at CUNY, she served as the Chief Accountant at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) where she functioned as the global accounting lead for the implementation of two worldwide projects; an integrated Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) System which involved the integration of the finance, human resources, grants, supply and program areas, and consolidated activities of over 160+ locations globally; and the simultaneous adoption of accrual based international accounting standards (IPSAS).

Mrs. Chiappa began her career at the big four public accounting firm, KPMG LLP, where she focused on providing auditing and consulting services to the higher education and not-for-profit sectors.

Mrs. Chiappa is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the State University of New York at Albany and an MBA from Baruch’s Zicklin School of Business.

Catherine Abata

University Executive Budget Director

Catherine Abata is the University Executive Budget Director for The City University of New York. In this position, she leads the University Budget Office and is responsible for the allocation, management and oversight of the University’s $3 plus billion budget for CUNY’s 25 colleges, professional schools and the central administration. Ms. Abata also is responsible for developing the University’s annual budget request and allocating and administering State and City appropriations in support of college and university priorities and initiatives. In addition, she serves as liaison to City and State executive and legislative staff regarding all CUNY financial matters. Read More

Ms. Abata has more than 25 years of experience in higher education financial planning and analysis and her knowledge of this area is wide-ranging, involving both operating and capital budgets. She has been instrumental in revising the CUNY community college funding model to distribute resources equitably, consolidating senior and community college departmental budget allocations and streamlining reporting and accountability procedures to achieve savings. She also plays a key role in formulating and implementing policies and procedures for the effective use of the University’s financial resources.

Ms. Abata joined the University Budget Office in 1995 as Senior Budget Analyst and was subsequently appointed to successive positons of increasing responsibility including Assistant Budget Director and Deputy Budget Director. Prior to joining the University Budget Office, Ms. Abata served as Senior Capital Planning and Budget Analyst in CUNY’s Office of Facilities Planning, Construction and Management. In this position she was involved in preparing the University’s annual capital budget request as well as reviewing the budgets for new construction and rehabilitation projects. Ms. Abata began her career in financial planning and analysis at the Industrial Bank of Japan Trust Company where she prepared financial reports for client investors.

Ms. Abata holds a baccalaureate degree in History and Political Science from the University of Rochester.

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Thomas Zhou

University Executive Treasurer

Thomas Z. Zhou is the University Executive Treasurer for The City University of New York.  In this position, he is responsible for strategically managing the University’s cash and investment portfolio and leading the formulation, development and management of University-wide strategies, operations, and policies related to the treasury function including banking, investing, cash management, borrowing and student financial aid disbursement processing. Read More

Mr. Zhou holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting, Economics, and International Business Management from SUNY Plattsburgh, and an M.B.A. in Finance & Investment and Computer Information Systems from Baruch College.  He is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Treasury Professional (CTP).