Though MPR’s article didn’t say it outright, the opening paragraph of the article essentially said that MnSCU didn’t get a blue-chip replacement as Chancellor. The opening paragraph said “Two rounds of searches for chancellors over two years have not given the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system board a candidate they’ve liked, so the board has picked its interim chancellor to fill the role.”

It isn’t that the second round of interviews didn’t include some impressive candidates. Here’s what was written about Ricardo Azziz:

Ricardo Azziz has served the State University of New York (SUNY) System Administration since 2016 as chief officer, academic health and hospital affairs. He also serves as a senior fellow at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education Pullias Center for Higher Education, a position he has held since 2015. Previously, he was the founding president of Georgia Regents University (now Augusta University) from 2012 to 2015; president of Georgia Health Sciences University from 2010 to 2012; and founding chief executive officer of the Georgia Regents Health System from 2010 to 2015. At the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine from 2007 to 2010, he served as assistant dean for Clinical and Translational Sciences (CTS) and deputy director of the UCLA CTS Institute. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, two master’s degrees from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and an MD from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine.

Here’s what was written about Neal Cohen:

Neal Cohen served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of ATK (NYSE: ATK) from 2012 to 2015. Previously, he was president and chief operating officer for Laureate Education from 2008 to 2011. He served Northwest Airlines between 1991 and 2008 in several capacities, including executive vice president of strategy and international; chief executive officer of regional operations; and executive vice president and chief financial officer. He also served US Airways as executive vice president and chief financial officer from 2002 to 2004. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s from the University of Chicago.

These are distinguished men of accomplishments. It would have required a major salary increase to get either gentleman to accept the job as MnSCU’s Chancellor. I’m betting that isn’t why the Trustees didn’t hire either of these candidates. I’m betting that both of these potential chancellors would’ve arrived, figured out what a mess they’d inherited and started scrapping the entire system almost immediately.

The last thing that the Trustees can afford is a reformer with leadership abilities in their midst. That’s why they picked Devinder Malhotra.

The IFO is thrilled with the hire:

To write that glowingly, the IFO must think he’ll be a pushover at negotiations. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re right. The other reason to think that this isn’t a strong hire is because Malhotra’s initial contract is shorter than the initial contract for his 2 predecessors:

Devinder Malhotra, the interim chancellor for the Minnesota State since last fall, will be offered a three-year contract to be chancellor.

James McCormick and Steven Rosenstone both got 7-year contracts at the start of their first terms.

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2 Responses to “MPR: Malhotra hire isn’t inspiring”

  • Reader4 says:

    Let’s be clear that in both of the search processes that the current MnSCU board rejected all applicants and decided to appoint an internal staff person. This blatantly disregards having a transparent, public process and effectively wastes thousands of dollars, time and public input. If they wanted to select an internal candidate they should have done so from the start and justified why Dr. Malhotra was the right person to do the job.

    Instead they choose to capture a list of 2nd rate applicants as ‘finalists’ in the 2nd round to illustrate why the unspoken alternative (Malhotra) was the right option. Under Vekich the Central Office and the Board have been increasingly controlling and resistant to real public input. I think Minnesota is worse off for this.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Unfortunately, the odds of Chancellor Malhotra picking a do-nothing crony to be St. Cloud State’s next president is fairly high. I hope I’m wrong but I’m not confident.

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