Members of Presidential Search Committee announced; Isaac Stein will chair

Isaac Stein

Isaac Stein, a member of the Stanford Board of Trustees, will chair the Presidential Search Committee as it seeks a successor to President John L. Hennessy. (Image credit: Courtesy Isaac Stein)

The search for Stanford University’s  11th president has begun with the formation of a 19-member Presidential Search Committee appointed by the chair of the Stanford University Board of Trustees.

The committee is charged with conducting a comprehensive and inclusive global search for a successor to Stanford President John L. Hennessy, who announced in June that he intends to step down next year after 16 years leading the university.

The committee comprises members from throughout the university community, including trustees, faculty, staff, students and alumni.  It is being chaired by Isaac Stein, JD/MBA ’72, current Stanford trustee and a past chair of the Board of Trustees. Stein, a longtime Stanford volunteer in many parts of the university, is a private investor and corporate director and also served on the 1999 presidential search committee that resulted in Hennessy’s appointment.

“The members of the Presidential Search Committee bring a deep understanding of Stanford, and their complementary backgrounds will give the committee diverse perspectives from all sectors of the university,” said Steven Denning, MBA ’78, chair of the Stanford Board of Trustees.  “Stanford is a remarkably strong institution held in the highest academic regard worldwide.  At this moment in time, there is not a more exciting opportunity in higher education. We are confident we will find an inspiring and innovative leader to build upon the trajectory of the past 15 years.”

Denning said the search process will be extensive and will seek feedback on both presidential qualifications and possible candidates from the entire campus community.  A website will be launched next month to allow members of the campus community to provide direct input. “Town hall” style meetings are planned for the fall for campus constituents to connect with committee members.

The committee will begin its work in September. The first task for the group will be to identify the most important attributes of a new president, Stein said.

“We intend to conduct considerable outreach, both on campus and with higher education thought leaders, as we seek diverse input not only about our next leader, but about the issues in higher education that will matter most to Stanford in the next decade,” Stein said.

“This will not be a simple or short process,” Stein said. “Our committee members are all aware of and committed to this significant undertaking.  While we all understand the strict confidentiality that such a search requires, we need and welcome broad input. “

The presidential search process is expected to conclude by the spring of 2016.  President Hennessy said he intends to vacate his post at the end of the 2015-2016 academic year.  Provost John Etchemendy, who has served in tandem with Hennessy for almost 15 years, agreed to continue as provost for up to an additional year after Hennessy steps down to assist with the transition until the new president can appoint a successor.  Etchemendy has previously indicated that he does not want to be considered as a candidate for the presidency.

The members of the Presidential Search Committee are:

  • Isaac Stein, JD/MBA ’72, trustee and committee chair; president, Waverley Associates
  • Steven Denning, MBA ’78, chair of the Board of Trustees; chairman, General Atlantic
  • Jim Coulter, MBA ’86, trustee; founding partner, CEO, TPG
  • Susan McCaw, BA ’84, trustee; president, COM Investments
  • Ruth Porat, BA ’79, trustee; senior vice president and chief financial officer, Google and Alphabet
  • Jeff Raikes, BA ’80, trustee; co-founder, Raikes Foundation
  • Srinija Srinivasan, BS ’93, trustee; co-founder, Loove Music
  • Vaughn Williams, JD ’69, trustee; of counsel, formerly partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
  • Mark Kelman, committee faculty deputy chair; James C. Gaither Professor in Law and vice dean, School of Law
  • Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, Ludwig Professor and chair, Department of Radiology
  • Margot Gerritsen, PhD ’97, director, Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering and senior associate dean, School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences
  • Ken Goodson, Davies Family Provostial Professor, and Bosch Chair, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Kam Moler, BS ’88, PhD ’95, professor of applied physics and of physics and Sapp Family Fellow in Undergraduate Education
  • Ramón Saldívar, Hoagland Family Professor of Humanities and Sciences
  • Larissa Tiedens, Jonathan B. Lovelace Professor of Organizational Behavior and senior associate dean for academic affairs, Graduate School of Business
  • Adam Daniel, senior associate dean for finance and administration, School of Humanities & Sciences
  • Robert Chun, ’16, chair of Stanford in Government, economics major
  • Melinda Cromie, PhD ’12, postdoctoral fellow, Department of Neurology, School of Medicine
  • Kathryn Ko Chou, BS ’85, MS ’86, senior vice president, sales and strategy, Informatica

Donna Lawrence, assistant vice president for development, will serve as executive vice chair of the committee.  Ingrid Deiwiks, executive assistant at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, will serve as staff director.