AUSTIN – A contract with an executive search firm that will assist in identifying the next University of Texas System Chancellor has been signed, Board of Regents Chairman Paul L. Foster announced.
Wheless Partners, a national executive search firm, has been selected to assist a regents’ search committee to find a successor to Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D. Mike “J.R.” Wheless, president of Wheless Partners’ Texas operation, will lead the search.
Cigarroa announced his resignation in January. He will remain in his position until a successor is selected and then plans to return to the UT Health Science Center–San Antonio (UTHSC-SA) to serve as director of pediatric transplant surgery. Before serving as chancellor, Cigarroa served for nine years as president of UTHSC-SA.
The firm will immediately begin its part in a national search seeking the best qualified candidates. It will also advise the committee in developing a timeline and interview schedule. Assisting Foster, who will chair the search committee’s efforts, will be Board Vice Chairmen Gene Powell and Steve Hicks.
Foster indicated he expects a new chancellor will be selected this summer, and that he or she will begin duties by the beginning of the 2014 fall semester.
Cigarroa, who has served as the system’s top executive for the last five years, said the decision to leave was a difficult one, but he has accomplished the goals he set for himself and the System and is eager to return to the business of saving lives, one patient at a time.
Foster said Cigarroa will be a tough act to follow, but the board is committed to finding a stellar candidate. “There is no more important role for this board than the selection of a chancellor, the chief executive of one of the nation’s largest and most complex higher education enterprises,” Foster said.
The search for the new chancellor will be thorough, inclusive and open, and as part of that process, the System has created a Web page   to receive public comment and nominations, as well as to offer updates about the search committee’s progress and timelines.
Foster said the committee will also reach out and seek the direct input of UT’s academic and health institution presidents, faculty, students, staff, alumni and supporters to find the best candidate.
“The Board of Regents is fully committed to finding a new chancellor who is worthy of leading one of the finest and most prominent public universities in America and the world. We will not settle until we have the right person for this extraordinary responsibility,” Foster said.
About The University of Texas System
Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System  is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and a fall 2013 enrollment of more than 213,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public universities in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $14.6 billion (FY 2014) including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 87,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.