KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Two years after resigning under fire as North Carolina State University’s chancellor, James Oblinger has been given a top job at another campus affiliated with the University of North Carolina system.

Officials with the North Carolina Research Campus on Tuesday named Oblinger president of the David H. Murdock Research Institute, the nonprofit that helps coordinate cutting-edge research into disease and nutrition at the Kannapolis campus.

Oblinger stepped down as N.C. State chancellor in June 2009 amid questions over the university’s hiring and promotion of the wife of former Gov. Mike Easley. He has spent the past two years on the faculty of N.C. State’s Plants for Human Health Institute at the research campus. His academic career has been in the field of food science.

“Jim is experienced, thoughtful and visionary. He has extensive experience managing and leading complex organizations. He understands science and how to build partnerships in the science world,” Steve Leath, the UNC system’s vice president for research and a member of the Murdock Research Institute’s board of directors, said in a statement. “Just as important, he knows how to build bridges between (the institute) and the community, universities and other scientific organizations.”

The North Carolina Research Campus is a public-private venture between the UNC system and David Murdock, the billionaire owner of Dole Foods. Researchers from several North Carolina universities and corporate partners are studying plant-based foods, human nutrition and disease prevention.

According to the Salisbury Post, Oblinger “is expected to raise private money for the institute, which until recently had trouble paying its bills and relies on cash grants from Murdock.” Oblinger has been a successful fund raiser in the past.

Murdock “was without an ounce of hesitation convinced that Jim was the right person for this position,” Lynne Scott Safrit, president of campus developer Castle & Cooke North Carolina, told the Post.

Michael Luther stepped down in June from the job Oblinger is taking. Luther remains in business development, according to the Post. (Read details here.)

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