U of M Regents Discuss Kaler's Departure, Search for Successor

August 09, 2018 06:50 PM

The University of Minnesota has a year to find a replacement for outgoing President Eric Kaler, who has announced he's retiring in June 2019.

And on Thursday, the school's Board of Regents held a special meeting to discuss the search for its next leader.


RELATED: More Details Available in Kaler's Amended Employment Agreement at U of M

Before discussing his replacement, though, the board discussed Kaler's departure.

He will continue to collect his $625,000 salary until June 2020, after serving as president emeritus for a year when he leaves his post. A six-month transitional period will follow, in which he'll make $156,000.

After that, he becomes a faculty member. And for the first two years of his faculty period, he will make $312,000.  That doesn't include the money he will make as an honorary chair - something one regent took issue with.

RELATED: Kaler Announces He is Leaving Post as President at U of M

"I think most of us didn't realize that was going to be part of it," Michael Hsu said. "And after asking some questions about it, it became clear it wasn't just an honorary degree without financial ties. It does have some financial benefits associated with it, and those have yet to be determined."      

A national search firm will be paid $200,000 to find a new president for the university. It's the same firm that failed to find a new chancellor for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system last year.

On Thursday, regents shared what they'd like to see in the school's next leader.

"I don't think we are looking for a candidate who is deeply skilled in one area, but rather somebody who can respond to the unlimited number of issues so almost a generalist approach," Richard Beeson said.

"A very important aspect for me being on the board is looking at ways to lower tuition, not have as much student debt," added Randy Simonson. "And I want someone who can look at that and find ways to increase our revenues with our intellectual property. I don't think we do a good job of that."

"Folks say, 'Oh, it's an institution. There's a bunch of them.' But I think we as a state are significantly unique from other places," added Abdul Omari.

The search will begin next month and is expected to take at least 14 weeks. The firm said it will be actively recruit candidates from all over.

A few regents did question the search firm, stating they wanted choices at the end. Not one candidate, which is what happened when Kaler was hired.


Jessica Miles

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