Bradley University Names Jeffrey A. Blade New Chief Financial Officer

April 29, 2020

Bradley University announces the appointment of Jeffrey A. Blade, former CEO of Matilda Jane Clothing since 2013, to serve as its new chief financial officer effective May 1. Blade is the first hire made by incoming President Stephen Standifird, who also begins his duties May 1.

“Jeff brings a broad level of experience to Bradley in corporate and operational finance,” said Standifird. “I believe he has the expertise and technical knowledge to navigate our financial challenges and make the university financially stronger for years to come.”

Blade succeeds Pratima Gandhi, who has been with the Peoria institution since 1993 and has served as CFO and treasurer since 2018. She leaves to join the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point as its CFO and vice chancellor for business affairs.

“Pratima has been an invaluable asset to Bradley for more than two decades,” said current President Gary R. Roberts. “After many years of doing an outstanding job as Controller, Pratima became CFO and began overseeing the entire facilities operation too. She has done an incredible job both managing the university’s complicated financial affairs during very challenging times and taking front-line responsibility for getting the new Business & Engineering Convergence Center completed. Pratima has given above and beyond for Bradley. We owe her a great debt of gratitude. She will be missed.”

Prior to his role at Matilda Jane Clothing, Blade served as CFO and chief administrative officer at luggage and handbag giant Vera Bradley since 2010. He previously served in senior roles at The Steak ’n Shake Restaurant Co. and Cott Beverages. Blade also held numerous roles of increasing responsibility at The Kraft Heinz Company. He started his career in public accounting at PWC.

Blade said “I am very excited to join Bradley University. I have a long-time interest in higher education having been involved at Butler University for many years including serving on the Board of Trustees for the past two years.”

He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Butler University’s Andre B. Lacy School of Business in 1983, followed by an MBA from Northwestern University in 1991.