Marquette University seeks an experienced and collaborative leader to be its Chief Financial Officer (CFO). With a visionary new President, Provost/EVP for Academic Affairs, and Executive Vice President for Operations (EVPO), passionate and service-minded students, excellent faculty, a new university master plan and updated strategic plan, increased engagement with the broader Milwaukee community, and beginning its largest fundraising campaign, Marquette is at an exciting inflection point. Reporting to the EVPO, the CFO will provide strategic leadership and oversight of the University’s financial operations and financial planning efforts to assist Marquette in its vision to be one of the most accomplished and innovative Catholic and Jesuit universities in the world.
The University has embarked on a transformation guided by the President and Provost/EVP for Academic Affairs. Dr. Michael R. Lovell became Marquette’s 24th President in 2014, the Provost, Dr. Daniel J. Myers, began his duties in 2015, and the first EVPO, Dave Lawlor, joined the team in 2017, after a realignment of the administrative structure. Together with the rest of the leadership team and the campus community, they are implementing Marquette’s ambitious strategic plan, Beyond Boundaries. This plan requires extraordinary investment and innovative new partnerships to bolster how Marquette delivers transformational education and student experiences, thrives in the new and dynamic environment of higher education, builds its endowment, advances research and scholarship, and reimagines and reshapes its infrastructure. The CFO will join Marquette at a critical time for reimagining the financial infrastructure and providing the bold thinking necessary to assist the President, Provost, and EVPO in delivering this transformation.
Duties and Responsibilities
The CFO will work in close partnership with the EVPO to provide a strategic fiscal vision and operational plan for the campus while ensuring a high level of innovation, transparency, collaboration, and accountability. The CFO will ensure financial goals and processes are clearly established and communicated to the University community and are in support of the University’s mission. S/he will have primary responsibility for Marquette’s financial planning and reporting, operating and capital budgets, accounting services, purchasing, risk management, debt management and endowment, payroll, and treasury services.
To that end, the new CFO will face a set of opportunities and challenges that include:
- Develop and operationalize a financial strategy that supports the University’s strategic priorities
- Strengthen and inspire a more innovative and agile financial organization
- Build community and trust with constituents across the University through the development, implementation, and communication of transparent processes and practices
- Reporting to the EVPO, the CFO serves as the University’s chief financial officer and is a member of the President’s Advisory Team and the University Leadership Council. The CFO will oversee and strengthen the university’s financial units in order to execute the strategic and master plans, support innovation, and fulfill the mission of the University. The CFO will also clearly communicate financial goals and challenges to the University community. Reporting to the Chief Financial Officer are the Associate CFO, University Budget Director, Bursar, Comptroller, Chief Investment Officer, Director of Treasury Services, and Director of Purchasing. In addition, the CFO will provide support to the Board of Trustees’ Finance & Risk Committee. The CFO also provides support and staffing for the University Financial Planning and Review Committee.
- The CFO will work closely with the EVPO, the President’s Advisory Team, Deans, Vice Presidents, and the CIO, as well as other campus leaders and the UFPRC, on the development and support of integrated long range financial, operational, and capital plans. This may involve development and implementation of new budget models to support the University’s long-range objectives.
Key Opportunities and Challenges for the CFO:
The CFO will contribute to the attainment of Marquette’s strategic goals by encouraging creative stewardship of financial resources and excellent service to academic and administrative units to set the University up for future success at a time of transformation. The CFO will need to be a seasoned financial leader with a track record of moving the needle in complex environments with an affinity and talent for collaboration across a variety of stakeholders and excellent communication skills.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
The successful candidate will have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and senior-level financial experience in a complex environment. Candidates should embrace the mission and values of Catholic, Jesuit higher education, and people from all religious backgrounds are encouraged to apply. The successful candidate will also bring most, if not all, of the following professional qualifications, skills, experiences, and personal qualities:
- Proven track record of providing strategic financial leadership;
- Demonstrated ability to integrate vision, strategy, tactics and activities to move the financial portfolio forward;
- An entrepreneurial orientation and a willingness to take considered risks and seize opportunities;
- Experience in a rapid-growth model;
- The ability to be nimble, flexible and handle ambiguity well;
- Experience leading and inspiring change and innovation with a strong orientation toward collaboration, teamwork, transparency, accessibility, accountability and delegation;
- Breadth of experience across accounting, finance, investment, internal controls and
management/leadership of operational practices and processes that enhance financial results;
- Experience with strategic, operational, and capital planning;
- Knowledge of trends in higher education financial management and funding models;
- Knowledgeable of financial information systems to plan and set financial systems strategy and direction;
- Experience with financials around academic-industry partnerships through sponsored research;
- The humility and emotional intelligence necessary to build collaborative relationships and an inherent drive to succeed in fulfilling the mission, goals and objectives of the University without the need for individual promotion;
- Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain productive, collaborative relationships with a full range of internal and external colleagues and constituencies, including alumni, donors, community members, and board members;
- Excellent communication skills, and the willingness to convey complex information and concepts in accessible terms, both orally and in writing;
- Proven track record for inspiring colleagues with the ability to cultivate and sustain trust and credibility;
- Evidence of a commitment to and appreciation for the benefits of a diverse workplace and the ability to create an inclusive and welcoming culture;
- Strong leadership skills demonstrated by the ability to influence, persuade, and inspire others to take action based on a vision and strategic objectives;
- Measures the success of his/her efforts through the success of the entire team and the University as a whole; and
- Commitment to the highest ethical and professional standards.