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Thursday Whispers: Inside Info On Presidential Search

Thursday Whispers: Inside Info On Presidential Search

USC is considering a bold move in its search for a new president, according to sources close to the Board of Trustees and search committee;

Although Northwestern president Morton Schapiro and Northeastern president Joseph Aoun have been considered frontrunners, USC might do something completely different.

The search committee is looking at candidates outside of strictly academic backgrounds, because of the big, diverse portfolio of the USC operation. For example, the medical enterprise now represents 55 percent of the University’s total operating revenue.

Who would be a candidate? I can’t help but think Robert Iger, the chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Co. fits the profile.

He has a good relationship with the Board of Trustees and his wife, Willow Bay, is the dean of USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

The biggest risk is the board makes a mistake similar to Max Nikias, who hired Pat Haden and Lynn Swann, who had no previous experience, as athletic directors. Both of their tenures have been viewed as disasters.

Schapiro released a statement to the Northwestern student newspaper, the Daily, saying he had yet to be contacted.

“While I spent a wonderful 11 years at USC, I haven’t spoken with anyone on their search committee or on their board,” Schapiro said. “Even though I am completing a decade as president of NU, I am still having a great time here and there is much left to accomplish.”

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