The search goes on.
The UM System Board of Curators’ first choice for system president turned down the offer in favor of a position in the private sector, board chairman Don Walsworth announced Friday.
Although the board tried to keep the candidates’ names under wraps, unnamed sources told the Kansas City Star on Thursday that the top candidate was Terry Sutter, a former Tyco Plastics & Adhesives executive and MU graduate.
The board negotiated with the candidate, whom they declined to name, over Memorial Day weekend, and negotiations continued through the early part of the week. On Wednesday, the candidate announced his decision to accept another job offer.
After the curators’ closed session meeting Friday, reporters pressed Walsworth
on whether U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo., would now be considered the front-runner for the position. Walsworth responded that, in his view, there were no front-runners. He said that Hulshof was not a candidate as far as he knew.
Walsworth said the curators have a good rapport with the search firm Baker-Parker, which will benefit them as they embark on a “complete new search.” The board will seek new candidates as well as re-examine former applicants.
While the private sector may offer a higher salary, a potential president should appreciate the payoffs of working in higher education, said Frank Schmidt, chairman of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee.
“I would think that if we have a candidate who is not interested in (working in academia), we would not have the best person for the university,” he said.
The board has not set a timeline for finding a new president, Walsworth said.
“We’re not under the gun,” he said. “Interim System President Gordon Lamb has been doing a magnificent job.”
The three rumored finalists all had business or political backgrounds. Walsworth said the board will continue to search for the “best man or woman for the job,” regardless of whether his or her experience lies in an academic, business or social arena.