The University of Alabama’s chief academic officer plans to retire next year.

“It has been an honor to serve this great institution for more than 30 years,” Executive Vice President and Provost Kevin Whitaker said in a statement released by the university. “I’ve seen a lot of growth in that time as we raised the national profile of this university by investing in outstanding students and faculty, incredible facilities and impactful research, scholarship and creative activities.”

Whitaker announced Thursday his plans to retire in 2020. Whitaker plans to stay in his current role until a replacement is hired, according to a statement from the university.

“We appreciate the leadership Kevin has provided over the years, and the dedication and passion he has brought to all of his roles at the university. I know all of Kevin’s colleagues and former students wish him all the best as he begins his retirement,” UA President Stuart Bell said. “We will launch a national search to fill this very important position.”

The statement did not include details on when the search would begin.

Whitaker has been in the post since 2017 and served as the interim provost from 2015-16. He led the committee that developed the campus’ current strategic plan.

Whitaker was tapped in July 2015 to serve as interim provost following the retirement of Joe Benson.

Whitaker has served in multiple roles at UA including associate provost for academic affairs and associate dean for academic programs in the College of Engineering.