Curators to name new president Friday

University officials have to to announce finalists' names.
Thursday, May 31, 2007 | 12:01 p.m. CDT; updated 8:18 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

University of Missouri curators plan to name a new president at the conclusion of their regular meeting Friday in Columbia, but it was unclear whether they plan to immediately disclose that choice.

“We should know something tomorrow,” interim president Gordon Lamb told The Associated Press Thursday at the start of the curators’ two-day meeting at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

The Kansas City Star, citing three unnamed sources, reported Thursday that New Jersey business executive Terry Sutter is the leading candidate to oversee the four-campus system.

Sutter, a former president of Tyco Plastics & Adhesives, graduated from the Columbia campus in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. He was replaced as Tyco president one year ago after a private investment firm purchased the company and changed its name to Covalence Specialty Materials.

The company bills itself as the world’s largest maker of plastic garbage bags and duct tape.

Sutter, 49, previously spent two years as president of Cytec Industries’ specialty chemical division and was also president of industry solutions for Honeywell/Allied Signal. He did not return telephone calls to his Chester, N.J. home seeking comment.

Sutter joins Rep. Kenny Hulshof, a Republican who lives in Columbia and alumni of the flagship campus, as one of three finalists for the job.

The third possible candidate, according to published reports, is bond fund executive William Thompson Jr., a 1968 civil engineering graduate of the Columbia campus who runs Pacific Investment Management Co., also known as PIMCO. Thompson has not returned repeated calls for comment to his home and office, both in Newport Beach, Calif.

The 10 curators, political appointees designated by the governor, are scheduled to meet behind closed doors Friday afternoon to discuss the presidential search.

That session follows interviews with the three finalists in St. Louis last week by a 19-member advisory panel of professors, alumni, students, retirees and non-faculty employees from the Rolla, Kansas City, St. Louis and Columbia campuses.

On Thursday, university spokesman Scott Charton said that no announcement regarding the new president is planned. However, employees in the university’s communications department were also told to keep sound, lighting and video equipment nearby in case of a last-minute news conference.

The apparent selection of three finalists with no background in higher education administration is consistent with previous comments by curators that they would seek nontraditional candidates from beyond academia.

The next Missouri president will succeed Elson Floyd, who in December announced his departure to become president of Washington State University. Floyd left for that job in late April.

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