Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is a global, experiential, research university built on a tradition of engagement with the world, creating a distinctive approach to education and research. The strength of a Northeastern education is experiential learning, which enables students to explore paths, find passions, and acquire the skills and knowledge to prepare them for a lifetime of success.
Northeastern educates 21,300 undergraduate and more than 17,000 graduate students who are served by more than 6,000 faculty and staff. Through nine colleges and schools, the University offers 325 undergraduate degree programs and nearly 400 graduate degree programs, including master’s, professional, and doctoral degrees and certificates of advanced study.
The University has evolved dramatically over the past generation, accelerating steadily since 2006 under the leadership of President Joseph E. Aoun. Under his leadership, external research awards more than tripled, exceeding $182 million in 2019–2020. Northeastern is a global campus community, networked across the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and South Asia through an expanding portfolio of research, experiential, campus and other student/faculty related functions. Already acknowledged as the leader in experiential education, Northeastern is dedicated to integrating experiential education into a global lifelong learning approach that will embrace research and industry.
Northeastern seeks an exceptionally accomplished attorney with a distinguished professional record to serve as Senior Vice President and General Counsel to lead its legal, risk, compliance and public safety functions. Reporting to President Aoun, the General Counsel is a member of the President’s Cabinet and serves in this capacity as a lawyer, but also as a catalyst toward promoting and effectively enabling business and community-partnerships and fostering a culture of innovative and progressive practice in the areas of legal, compliance, regulatory, and public safety policy matters.
The General Counsel will work in collaboration with senior leaders to counsel, advise, solve problems, and strategize on issues of importance to the University. Recognizing the different functions of a University that are centrally administered and de-centralized, the General Counsel must be capable of influencing and informing both directly and through others. They will be called on to work up, down, and across functions, departments, colleges and campuses. The General Counsel is expected to develop a deep understanding of the mission and goals of the University and to be able to provide broad strategic counsel. In addition, they will assess and expand on the culture within the Office of General Counsel, which is progressive, collaborative, and partnering in its approach.
Candidates should be experienced in both leading and advising complex functions within dynamic organizations. Leadership experience within a firm, company, or large organization is required, with demonstrated mastery across a wide range of legal, compliance, regulatory, and public safety policy matters in complex and decentralized organizations with a high degree of complexity. Prior experience advising and working closely with the CEO and leadership team of a large, complex organization on significant legal, compliance, regulatory and public policy matters is critical.
Personal and professional alignment with the University’s culture is of paramount importance. Candidates must exhibit a passion for understanding the University and contributing in a meaningful way to its strategy and long-term goals. In addition to possessing the requisite legal and technical skills, the successful candidate must demonstrate a high degree of strategic, conceptual, and analytical skills. Highly qualified candidates will demonstrate an appreciation for an academic environment, the roles and relationships of faculty, staff and students, and the needs of all constituents. Because the University has embarked on a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, strong candidates will have prior experience advising, advancing, and implementing policies and improvements.
Strong candidates will ideally have: a level of proficiency in business and transactional skills; sophisticated board governance experience (although the GC will not have Board Secretarial responsibilities); proven negotiation with regulatory bodies and their principals; and exposure to U.S. and international business risks; and a track record as an innovative, strategic and results-oriented leader with broad vision and success achieving institutional excellence. They must be adept at facilitating difficult discussions, shepherding change, creating and strengthening partnerships, and aligning an array of efforts across the University. Higher education experience is a plus but not a requirement.
Nominations, inquiries, and expressions of interest should be sent to: northeasternGC@russellreynolds.com.
Northeastern University is an equal opportunity employer, seeking to recruit and support a broadly diverse community of faculty and staff. Northeastern values and celebrates diversity in all its forms and strives to foster an inclusive culture built on respect that affirms inter-group relations and builds cohesion. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. To learn more about Northeastern University’s commitment and support of diversity and inclusion, please see www.northeastern.edu/diversity.
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