MUSC casting broad net for next president

By Ashley Barker 
abarker@scbiznews.com
Published Dec. 16, 2013

Medical University of South Carolina president candidates could begin visiting the campus in April.

John Hicks, senior consultant with executive search firm Academic Search Inc., provided an update to the university’s board of trustees on Friday about the national search for a new president and CEO. He said the Presidential Search Committee will accept confidential applications and nominations until the position is filled.

Members of the MUSC Presidential Search Committee:

  • Tom Stephenson, MUSC board of trustees chairman.
  • Dr. Charles B. Thomas Jr., MUSC board of trustees member.
  • Dr. Conyers O’Bryan Jr., MUSC board of trustees member.
  • Charles W. Schulze, MUSC board of trustees member.
  • Dr. Donald R. Johnson II, MUSC board of trustees member.
  • Anita G. Zucker, chairwoman and CEO, The InterTech Group Inc.
  • Dr. Charles F. Bratton, MUSC assistant professor of surgery.
  • Dr. Patrick Cawley, MUSC Medical Center executive director and CEO and MUSC vice president for clinical operations.
  • Dr. Etta Pisano, MUSC vice president for medical affairs, dean of the College of Medicine.
  • Lisa Montgomery, MUSC executive vice president for finance and operations.
  • Dr. John J. Sanders, MUSC College of Dental Medicine dean.
  • Dr. Sabra C. Slaughter, special assistant to the president for diversity and community relations.
  • Dr. Tom Smith, MUSC faculty senate president.
The search to find a replacement for Dr. Raymond S. Greenberg, who left the university in August to become the executive vice chancellor for health affairs at the University of Texas System, began Nov. 18, Hicks said.

The committee will begin reviewing applications March 5 and plans to invite three or four finalists to the campus during the week of April 17. The goal is to have the finalists meet faculty members and trustees by April 25.

“This is something this board hasn’t done for 14 or 15 years. In higher education circles, it’s considered probably the most important function a board has, to appoint leadership,” Hicks said.

He added that, in early October, he had met with a number of faculty and staff, legislators and external supporters of the institution to develop a profile for the position to use as the main recruitment tool.

“The person needs to help build a vision … to help set a course for the university for the next 10 years,” Hicks said. “The next president must be a very effective external advocate for this university, in South Carolina, nationally and even internationally.”

He or she must also support the institution’s three-pronged mission of teaching, research and clinical care. Being a leader for fundraising and building support for the new Children’s Hospital and Women’s Pavilion, which is expected to open in 2020, also will be a priority.

“The next president must maintain a robust, high-quality research environment that will enable faculty to obtain the necessary support to grow the portfolio for the university,” Hicks said.

The committee expects candidates to have a doctoral degree and senior leadership experience.

“This is a $2 billion organization,” Hicks said. “The person doesn’t have to have managed a $2 billion organization, but they need to understand the demands of a large, multifaceted organization.”

Hicks said the MUSC community expects a president to be a strategic thinker, a motivator, an open and energetic manager and be able to make difficult decisions.

Hicks told the board that part of the reason it will take so long is the winter holidays.

“Most people are not really interested or thinking about changing jobs during that time of the year. You lose the first six weeks of the search, as far as productive recruiting,” Hicks said. “It takes time to build traction.”

The committee is casting a broad net, looking at not just physicians but also leaders who have experience in health care finance and health care management, Hicks said.

“It’s a big deal to leave one very important job to go to another very important job,” Hicks said.

The position has been advertised on about 25 websites, and the committee has already received calls from people who are interested in talking about it.

“To be frank, a lot of them, after they think about it, realize they aren’t really prepared for something this large,” Hicks said. “It’s still an interesting job, so they want to talk.”

Shortly after Greenberg announced his departure, the board unanimously appointed Mark Sothmann, MUSC vice president for academic affairs and provost, as interim president.

Reach Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker.

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