Hunt for next CMU VP/CFO continues

Jonathan Carreon/Contributing Editor
Vice President of Campus Affairs Michael Murphy (right) hosted a VP/CFO search town hall last month. (credit: Jonathan Carreon/Contributing Editor) Jonathan Carreon/Contributing Editor Vice President of Campus Affairs Michael Murphy (right) hosted a VP/CFO search town hall last month. (credit: Jonathan Carreon/Contributing Editor)

Carnegie Mellon University in currently in the midst of a search process for a new vice president and chief financial officer.

The position of vice president and chief financial officer (CFO) — a singular position — organizes the central financial services of the university, including the budget, payroll, accounts receivable and payable, the treasurer’s office, internal audits, and sponsored projects.

According to current Vice President of Campus Affairs and search committee chair Michael Murphy, “One very important facet of the role beyond his or her immediate organization … is collaborative involvement and leadership in the whole of the administration. President Jared Cohon and Executive Vice President and Provost Mark Kamlet have nurtured this kind of teamwork exceptionally, in the best Carnegie Mellon tradition.”

Mark Kamlet is the current interim CFO.

Specific duties of the CFO position include issues such as proposing tuition and fees, negotiating research overhead rates, developing budget plans, advising on property acquisition, and monitoring the effectiveness of international initiatives.

“It is a critical role, if perhaps somewhat less visible to students than some,” Murphy continued.

Although many students are unfamiliar with the responsibilities of the CFO, his or her actions play a vital role in the university’s day-to-day activity. When approached, most students were eager to learn more about the role of the CFO and to give their opinion regarding the position.

First-year logic and computation major Deanna Daly said, “I hope that the new vice president is one who really considers the position of individuals, and not just the institution as a whole. Even though we are getting a great education, being a student here is financially straining on our families, and I think that really has an impact on student lifestyle. This is definitely something that I’m hoping to see improved.”

The search committee is looking for a candidate who has the proper educational background and financial expertise.

The committee believes an ideal applicant to be someone who has leadership experience, a strategic and insightful mind, excitement regarding the accomplishments and potential of the university, and a dedication to building an environment in which the community can thrive.

“Carnegie Mellon is a complex organization … and is still young and has comparatively lesser resources than many of our peers. We play big for our size, as they say, and that requires someone who is smart, hard working, and innovative,” Murphy said.

The search process for the new CFO began this past November with the development of the search committee, and the search firm was selected in January.

Applications and nominations are now being accepted, and interviews will be conducted later this spring. The university plans to have a new CFO working in July.

Subra Suresh, President-Elect, is involved with the process and will assume office at roughly the same time as the new CFO.

Additionally, a small number of student leaders will probably be able to meet with finalists.

“The nature of this highly qualified position requires an individual who is diligent, organized, and conscientious,” sophomore psychology major Lauren Simicich said.

“The expectation is for this person to assume the numerous responsibilities that are expected of them and have them completed in an efficient and timely manner,” she continued. “If they can do that with an enthusiastic attitude, then you have found your new VP and CFO.”