Chief Financial Officer
Jacksonville University (JU) seeks an experienced and cutting-edge leader to serve as Chief Financial Officer (CFO). As a member of the senior leadership team reporting directly to the President, the CFO will serve as a trusted strategic advisor to the President, Board of Trustees, and other university leadership, and is responsible for the ethical and expert oversight and stewardship of the university’s finances, buildings and grounds/physical plant, technology, and human resources. The CFO will lead the division with boundless energy, creativity, and integrity, contributing to long-term financial strategy development, business- process improvement and operational efficiencies, and innovative collaborations as JU builds upon a trajectory of forward-thinking and imaginative leadership goals.
Jacksonville University and President Tim Cost
Jacksonville University is an independent, coeducational university located on nearly 200 acres along the St. John's River in Jacksonville, Florida. Jacksonville University enjoys a reputation for excellence in undergraduate arts and sciences and in business programs, as well as distinguished programs in health sciences, aviation, marine biology, the fine arts and education. The University offers more than 70 undergraduate academic programs and 15 masters and doctoral degree programs. The University currently has 4100 students including 2418 undergraduates representing 42 states and 45 countries. Historically, Jacksonville University has graduated students from 92 different nations and has an alumni footprint across the global corporate, non-profit, science, health and arts landscape.
JU is consistently ranked as a premier institution (top 10%) for student return on investment, and has been selected as one of “American’s Best Colleges” by U.S News and World Report for more than 10 years. CEO Magazine recently ranked the University’s Davis College of Business #14 in the world for value/return on investment.
Jacksonville University hired alumnus Tim Cost in 2013 as its twelfth President and, under his leadership, has been experiencing growth in programs, its endowment, and the campus. The appointment of President Cost represented a clear decision by the Board of Trustees to build upon the existing regional strength of Jacksonville University by positioning the institution among the academically most valued and respected universities both in the region and throughout the U.S. President Cost is a nationally recognized corporate leader, having held senior leadership roles in Fortune 500 companies such as Kodak, Bristol-Myers Squibb, ARAMARK, Wyeth/Pfizer. Most recently he served as Executive Vice President of Global Corporate Affairs at PepsiCo.
Under President Cost’s leadership, the University has added 38 new programs in engineering, information technology, cyber security, kinesiology, data analytics, computer sciences and health informatics. The announcement of a student exchange with Japan’s prestigious School of Commerce at Waseda University is evidence of JU’s recent success in building strategic collaborative partnerships. Waseda University consistently ranks among the most academically selective and well-regarded universities in Japan. Only the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, with its perennially number one-ranked international business undergraduate program, has such a prized official exchange arrangement with Waseda. Additionally, in February of this year Jacksonville University announced an historic partnership with OCEARCH, creating OCEARCH at Jacksonville University. The collaboration of these two institutions combines the proven strengths of a global leader in marine species research with JU’s stellar Marine Science Research Institute and will offer unparalleled capability and create worldwide recognition for its efforts.
During his tenure at JU, President Cost has committed to substantial improvements in student success, campus upgrades and community connections. He has led the investment of more than $30 million into the University campus, is heading up an ambitious $120 million ASPIRE development campaign, and has launched the Florida EPIC program to support STEM education, regional economic investment and jobs creation.
A study of government-sourced economic data reveals that in 2016 Jacksonville University was responsible for an estimated $271 million in economic impact on the region, including an estimated $91 million in labor income and over 2,518 jobs generated in the region. Additionally, JU faculty, staff, and students donated more than $175,000 in cash and in-kind contributions, and contributed more than 30,000 hours volunteering for various community services, for an entire community service contribution valued at nearly $1,000,000.
Jacksonville is the cultural, commercial, and financial center of North Florida, and is the most populous city in Florida and the southeastern United States. It is the largest city by area in the contiguous United States and the Jacksonville metro area is home to over 1.5 million people. The city is situated on the banks of the St. Johns River, in the First Coast region of North Florida, and is a short 20-minute drive from the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. Jacksonville is a major military and civilian deep-water port and supports two U.S. Navy bases and the Port of Jacksonville.
Residents of Jacksonville can count on over 220 sunny days per year. The average high temperature in January is 64 degrees and the average high in July is 90 degrees. Jacksonville is experiencing strong jobs creation and has a very affordable median housing price of only $272,000 (an index of 92 against the national index of 100). Jacksonville has over 111,000 acres of public parks, making it the largest urban park system in the country. The Professional Golf Association (PGA) Tour has its headquarters in nearby Ponte Vedra, and the World Golf Hall of Fame opened in Jacksonville in 1998. Music enthusiasts will appreciate Jacksonville as home to the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, as well as host of the Jacksonville Springing the Blues Festival in April and the Jacksonville Jazz Festival each Memorial Day weekend.
The chief financial officer will be a leader in seeking opportunities to develop collaborative relationships and resources in support of the University’s mission. He/she is responsible for providing executive-level direction and management oversight for financial planning, budgeting and budget analysis, accounting and business operations, financial controls and reporting, investment oversight, campus maintenance and development, risk management and insurance, capital planning and construction, human resource management, information technology, facilities and grounds operations, sustainability, purchasing and contracts, mail services, and auxiliary enterprises.
The CFO will lead a team of 130 individuals including eight direct reports, and 75 ARAMARK employees, and have responsibility for an $84 million budget. He/she will serve as staff to the Board of Trustees’ committees on Finance/Investment, Audit, and Facilities/Technology. The CFO will work collaboratively with the campus community, including the Faculty Assembly, Employee Advisory Committee, the President’s Staff, Dean’s Council, and others.
The CFO will have key leadership opportunities to:
- Partner with the President and senior staff to develop strategic areas for growth and lead the institution’s financial strategy;
- Assess and organize the division in order to lead efforts in mapping a bold future of resource oversight and enhancement as well as innovative partnerships;
- Improve relationships for greater campus-wide service, support and focus among all constituencies in meeting ambitious University goals;
- Lead transformational efforts in reporting to create an ever stronger culture of transparency and understanding of roles and responsibilities as they fit into the University mission and vision;
- Create opportunities for ideas to be exchanged at all levels of the organization in order to offer a greater sense of the services and expertise that the division provides and build stronger relationships across the University;
- Empower other divisions to reach new levels of achievement through expert support for human and other resource development, innovative uses of technologies, appropriate and synergistic infrastructure, and collaboration in creating accurate and transparent analyses to guide and focus efforts;
- Think boldly and expansively about external and internal relationships, services and communications to provide optimal support for excellence in University outcomes.
The successful candidate must be technically competent in the fields of accounting and finance and have an established record of visionary and proactive approaches to complex financial management, comprehensive problem solving, and relationship building. The CFO should be someone with superb communication and collaboration skills who will engage business and community leaders, trustees, senior staff, and faculty and staff in pursuit of JU’s vision. The CFO should be a leader who empowers his/her staff to take ownership of responsibilities and commitments, and challenges those around him/her to continuously improve.
The CFO will have the following experiences, capabilities, and attributes:
- At least 15 years of progressively responsible financial leadership, preferably in a private college or university setting;
- Demonstrated ability to lead strategically, with vision, energy, and passion;
- Progressive financial, operational, capital planning, and budget-management experience within a multi-faceted organization with significant time spent at the senior management or executive level and a proven record of sound administrative and responsible executive decision-making;
- Significant experience in finance, budgeting, accounting and facilities, with a keen appreciation for staff development, instructional technologies, and optimizing human resources;
- Technical acumen in strategic financial planning; budget development and management; not-for-profit accounting principles; endowment spending, capital structure, debt-financing; financial risk management; real estate; and best business practices;
- Experience developing, refining, and communicating financial data, fiscal policies, procedures, and programs in a complex environment;
- Sophisticated financial modeling and forecasting skills to lead planning, evaluation and discussions of multiple scenarios;
- Comprehensive knowledge of relevant regulatory reporting, filing and compliance requirements;
- Strong project management and continuous process-improvement expertise;
- Expert communication skills that allow vastly different audiences to understand technical financial reports and concepts, as well as their respective roles in meeting strategic University resource goals;
- Demonstrated ability to establish credibility with all constituencies − deans, faculty, staff, trustees, and external partners − based upon integrity, critical thinking, accountability, transparency, excellent interpersonal skills and political savvy;
- Success with and comfort in leading cultural change while improving business processes and implementing best practices;
- A persuasive approach to building capable and cohesive teams that thrive in a rapidly evolving environment;
- Ability to serve as an articulate and engaging spokesperson;
- A relevant baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university; an advanced degree is preferred.
Andy Evans, Donna Fish, and Tom Phillips from Neumann Executive Search Partners are assisting Jacksonville University with this search. We invite nominations and ask interested candidates to please send a resume and letter of interest outlining background in light of the needs of this position. Background checks will be performed on all final candidates. Please send candidate materials to JUCFO@neumannsearch.com.
Jacksonville University supports the principle of diversity and encourages applications from individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences. It is Jacksonville University’s practice to provide equal opportunities for all.