ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The board of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities has opted for an interim leader after rejecting its three finalists for chancellor.

Despite an extensive search, system chair Michael Vekich said Thursday he didn't believe the board found the right candidate among the finalists to be the system's next chancellor.

Instead, the board unanimously chose former St. Cloud State provost Devinder Malhotra to serve as interim chancellor until a permanent one is found. Malhotra also once served as interim president of Metropolitan State University.

Reports say 43 applications were received for the chancellor post.

Chancellor Steven Rosenstone plans to retire at the end of July. The system has about 400,000 students at Minnesota's two-year colleges and regional universities.