The University of Minnesota will form a special advisory committee and pay an executive search firm $200,000 to help find a successor to President Eric Kaler, who is stepping down next June.
The Board of Regents announced that it has hired Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, a national consulting firm that specializes in colleges and universities, to recruit candidates and help guide the search process.
The board has scheduled a special meeting Thursday to review the plans for the search, which is expected to begin in September. Under a tentative timetable, the search is expected to take 14 weeks. The board is also in the process of forming a campus search advisory committee, which will include faculty, staff, students and community members.
“We do want to move decisively and quickly,” said board chairman David McMillan.
The Storbeck firm, which has offices on both coasts, says it has led 200 searches for college and university presidents or chancellors since 2007.
It’s also the firm that was involved in a failed 2017 search for a new chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. In that case, the three finalists were ultimately rejected by the board of trustees. A second search, using a different search firm, also foundered earlier this year.
Michael Vekich, chairman of the Minnesota State board of trustees, declined to talk about his experience with Storbeck/Pimentel, saying he didn’t want to comment on the U’s search process. After spending $267,000 on two failed national searches, his board eventually promoted the interim Minnesota State chancellor, Devinder Malhotra, to the permanent position in March.
McMillan said he doesn’t blame the consultants when searches go awry, and he said the Storbeck/Pimentel firm has an impressive track record across the country.
“They are a national firm with very deep experience in the higher education field,” he said. “There’s multiple things at work when things don’t go well, and I look to the ultimate hiring authority.”
He noted that Storbeck/Pimentel, described as a “woman- and minority-owned executive search firm,” has worked with many top colleges and universities to “deliver a diverse set of qualified candidates. They’ve got experience at the top of the food chain.”
The firm will be advising the U’s campus search committee, as well as helping to identify and vet candidates. The U has created a website, president-search.umn.edu, to provide updates and take public comments on the search.
On Thursday, the regents are scheduled to vote on a new contract for Kaler, who will become president emeritus in 2019 and return to teaching in 2021.