U of L board's finance committee approves $511 M budget

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  University of Louisville leaders are looking for the school’s president to be someone skilled in managing a $1 billion enterprise with “transparency;” someone with political savvy and good listening skills, as well as someone with “wisdom and judgment.”

The university’s presidential search committee – made up of 14 U of L trustees and community businesspeople – held its first meeting Wednesday and set broad goals for the search process, which is expected to take over a year.

“You need someone who is very independent and not beholden to anyone – someone who is not motivated by money,” said trustee Nitin Sahney, a healthcare entrepreneur who formerly led Omnicare.

Sahney encouraged the committee to look beyond Louisville for a candidate who has no allegiances locally and who would not shy away from decisions that might upset people.

“I find this community is very small many ways,” Sahney said.

William Armstrong, the U of L staff representative on the board of trustees, echoed other committee members in calling for a president who acts in a “transparent” way.

“We don’t always have to like the ‘what’ of what’s going on, but we have to know the why,” Armstrong said.

U of L has been without a permanent leader since James Ramsey, who was president for 14 years, took a buyout last July.

David Grissom, who chairs U of L’s board of trustees and co-chairs the search committee, said the ideal candidate is someone who will need to be convinced to take the job – perhaps after a visit from Papa John’s International founder John Schnatter in his private airplane. (Schnatter, a trustee, co-chairs the search committee).

“We don’t want somebody who is looking for a job,” Grissom said.

On Wednesday, the search committee created two sub-groups – one to manage the hiring of a private company to manage the search and the other to write the job description.

In an interview, Grissom said a realistic expectation is for the new president to assume the job in late 2018 for the start of the 2018-19 academic year.

While the committee hasn’t decided specific requirements for the job, Grissom said he would be open to considering candidates without a doctoral degree.

“I think we are looking for the very best man or woman in America to manage this institution and it could be a non-academic; it could be a non-traditional choice,” Grissom said.

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