State Board of Regents select search firm for the University of Iowa Presidential Search Committee

Following the release of the 21-member search committee on Tuesday to select the UI’s next president, the state Board of Regents selected AGB, a Washington-based search firm.


Jenna Galligan

The Old Capitol is seen on Thursday, March 12, 2020.

Sabine Martin, News Reporter

The state Board of Regents has selected AGB Search, a search firm based in Washington, D.C., that will assist the University of Iowa Presidential Search following UI President Bruce Harreld’s retirement announcement.  

In a press release from the board, which governs the state’s three public universities and ultimately selects the next president, the regents said they are confident AGB will provide support in the search process. As a search firm, AGB will help define the goals of the search by developing the position description and the search’s timeline, the release stated.

The firm will also facilitate the candidate interviews and conduct background checks on the applicants.

AGB will be paid $90,000, plus expenses, for its services assisting with the search, according to the release. At the conclusion of the search for the Iowa State University President in 2017, the regents paid $180,000, about 18 percent of which was travel expenses to bring candidates to campus. 

As previously reported by The Daily Iowan, search committee co-chair John Keller said much of the work for the committee will be done virtually, but they will prefer some meetings to be in a face-to-face, socially distanced setting, he said. 

The regents previously hired AGB Search to help select two other presidents for Iowa’s three state-funded universities. In 2017, the firm was hired in the presidential search that ended in the hiring of Wendy Wintersteen as Iowa State University president, and in the 2016 presidential search that ended in the hiring of now-UNI President Mark Nook. Sally Mason, a former UI president, works for AGB. During the UNI presidential search, the firm said she wouldn’t be involved in the hiring process.

Senior Communications Director of the state Board of Regents Josh Lehman wrote in an email to the DI that the search firm proposed Roderick McDavis, James McCormick, and Janice Fitzgerald as the AGB search principals for the current UI presidential search. Lehman wrote that Mason will not be involved in the University of Iowa search process.

Lehman wrote that because the search is in its early stages, nothing has been determined regarding how the interviews will be conducted — and whether they will be virtual — because of the pandemic. 

The search committee’s first meeting will be in December, Lehman said. All search committee meetings will be live streamed and announced publicly in advance with a date and time, he said. 

At the Nov. 18 regents meeting, the UI Presidential Search Committee’s co-chairs, Keller and Sandra Daack-Hirsch, will formally present the 21-member committee – which was released to the public on Tuesday – and provide a search update. 

As previously reported by the DI, Keller said the search committee members must each have a voice in the process. “We will work together to find our next president, and do so in a way that is as open and transparent as possible.”