The Michigan Daily is publishing an article each day this week to cover the start of University President Mark Schlissel’s first semester. He will be formally installed as the University’s 14th president during a day of inauguration festivities Friday.
As University President Mark Schlissel heads into his first year, he may not be the only new face in the administration for long.
Two executive committees, one formed in May and one in August, are currently searching for replacements for Ora Pescovitz, former executive vice president for medical affairs and CEO of the University of Michigan Health System, and Timothy Slottow, former University executive vice president and chief financial officer. Both announced earlier this year that they would be stepping down.
There are 13 executive officers in total at the University. Of those, 10 hold permanent positions. The remaining three are interim CFO Douglas Strong, interim EVPMA Dr. Michael Johns and S. Jack Hu, interim vice president for research.
The EVPMA search committee, formed in May, is further along in the search process than the CFO committee. Dr. Paul Lee, director of the Kellogg Eye Center and chair of the EVPMA committee, said the search has been going well thus far, and he’s been pleased with its progress.
Over the past few months the EVPMA committee has hosted public forums with groups such as UMHS faculty and staff, and has met with other groups across the University that are impacted by the position. Lee said the committee is now finished with that phase, though it is still accepting feedback and nominations.
“It was wonderful to hear the degree of focus from all the people who participated on what’s good for the University of Michigan as an organization, what’s good for the patients and family who trust us for their health and health care,” Lee said. “One of the great things about Michigan is how we all work together to do the very best.”
The EVPMA position comes with several key requirements, including a medical or equivalent degree, clinical and academic experience, broad knowledge of health policy issues and experience and knowledge in managing an entity as large as UMHS. The health system includes the University hospitals, practices, specialty centers and the Medical School, and comes with a $3.4 billion annual operating budget.
When asked what he’s looking for in a potential EVPMA in a July press release, Schlissel reiterated several of the benchmarks in the position description, including experience in academia and medicine, and with management and business.
He also said he would look for someone who has a “real sensitivity to what faculty and students need to be successful.”
The committee hopes to have someone in the position by early 2015. However, Lee said the target time period wasn’t necessarily exact.
“The goal is to find the best possible person, and so we don’t want to rush through things,” he said.
The CFO search committee is at a much earlier stage in the search process, and neither benchmarks nor a position description have been released yet.
In the same July interview, Schlissel said he thought the position could go to someone with or without university experience.
“Business and management acumen will be critical, along with an ability to explain challenges and opportunities to constituencies,” he said. “It’s essential that we find someone who can work collaboratively and has a passion for higher education.”
The CFO’s responsibilities include overseeing facilities and operations, finance, information and technology services, investments and human resources.
For both positions, Schlissel will make the final decision on whom to put forward for the approval of the University’s Board of Regents. He will do so in consultation with the search committees after they make their recommendations of finalists. A liaison to the President’s Office, project manager Lisa Connolly, who is a senior manager for executive searchers.
Lee characterized Schlissel’s involvement in the EVPMA search process thus far as “respectful.”
“President Schlissel met with the committee to give us our charge as a committee, and we were very appreciative of that,” Lee said. “And then he’s been very respectful of the committee in terms of doing the work to help identify the most appropriate, best fit for us.”
University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said the president’s liaison on the committee serves primarily in a support role during this part of the process in order to facilitate communication between the committee, the executive search firms hired to aid the search, and the president’s office, as well as assist with campus outreach efforts.
“Obviously, (Schlissel) makes the final decision (on the nomination),” Fitzgerald said. “During the search process, it’s not something he’s deeply involved in, and that’s why Lisa Connolly, as the representative of the president’s office, is more in touch on an ongoing basis with the search consultants and the search committee.”
More information about the CFO search, including the position description, should be released soon, Fitzgerald said. He also the CFO search committee plans to begin campus outreach events shortly, though the form those will take is yet to be determined.