Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Power outage rocks campus
Power outage rocks campus
Jack Brandt September 13, 2023

Detailed search to fill CFO position continues

Augustana College is still in the process of searching for the next chief financial officer (CFO) and vice president of finance following the resignation of David English in May of last year.
The college has appointed Sheri Curran, Augustana’s General Counsel, as chair of the search committee. The committee is made up of 13 members, including, faculty, administration, and one student.
The college has contracted the executive search firm Witt/Kieffer to lead the search.
“I think a large part of selecting a firm is choosing a firm that understands the college.” said Curran. “There were a couple of reasons why we decided to go with Witt/Kieffer, so in addition to the fact that they knew the college, that also presented the additional benefit of saving some time.
Curran said they hope to have a new CFO on board at Augustana by the end of the calendar year. She said that choosing a firm familiar with the college saved the college about a month’s worth work with a firm less familiar with the college’s culture, values and saved time from meeting the president and his cabinet. Curran said while meetings and tours still took place, it was an overall faster process because of the search firm’s familiarity with the college.
Curran said the process is one that didn’t want to be rushed. “We were very sensitive about the process, and we were also warned by Witt/Kieffer that while we might be able to save some time, this was a process that we didn’t want to rush”
Augustana has brought in an interim CFO Tom Leach, to hold the responsibility of the position until it is filled later this year. Leach is an Augustana graduate of the class of 1983 and served as the CFO of the broadcast and entertainment division of Tribune Media in Chicago prior to coming back to serve in this position.
Curran said that Leach was needed to ensure things stay “status quo”.
“We are lucky to have Tom” said Curran
Curran said that Leach will be instrumental once a new CFO is elected, she believes he will provide insight into the integration of the new CFO, but Leach is not on the search committee.
As a proud alumnus, it is both an honor and a privilege to serve as interim CFO of Augustana.  I am also fortunate to be supported by a strong staff in the Business Office and serving at a time when the college has a healthy financial position.  My background is in corporate accounting, which has quite a few differences versus accounting for non-for-profits and higher education, but having been on Augustana’s Board of Trustees (from 2005 to 2014) has helped me manage that steep learning curve.  I am committed to being here until a smooth transition to the new CFO is completed.” said Leach via email.
Curran said she hopes to make this transition a transparent one for the college.
“I want (students, faculty, parents and alumni) to know that we are being very thoughtful with this search, and we are being very mindful about the mission and the continuation of the mission of the college, about the strategic plan, value to students and really bringing the right person on who can continue the success of the college.” said Curran
David English, the colleges former CFO, left for a new position in May of last year. He now holds a similar position at Denison University. English told the Observer in a previous interview that this type of career transition is not unusual.  

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Augustana Observer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Detailed search to fill CFO position continues