“We’ve talked to some very interesting and accomplished candidates,” he says. “We’re looking for the needle in the haystack.” If the search stays on track, Robert speculates, Brown could hire a new chief executive by the end of the fall, although that person would not likely take office until July 2001.
To protect confidentiality, Robert would not say much about the people in the running nor would he comment on whether the committee is considering any internal candidates. He did note, however, that the shortened list includes some women, some minorities, and some sitting presidents, provosts, and deans.
Two committees are conducting the search: a group of seventeen Corporation members, chaired by Robert; and a nonvoting advisory committee of thirteen students, professors, and administrators. By the summer’s end, both committees will have interviewed everyone on the shortened list. After offering its suggestions, the advisory group will step aside to allow the full Corporation to pick the president, as specified by the Brown charter.
While the committees are looking over the candidates, the candidates are looking over Brown. Robert notes that the students on the advisory committee have been particularly enthusiastic about selling Brown to the would-be presidents. “A lot of candidates ask, ‘Why do kids love Brown so much?’ ” he says.