Organization: Carnegie Mellon University

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

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About Carnegie Mellon University:

Carnegie Mellon (CMU) is a private, global research university, internationally renowned in fields such as artificial intelligence, the performing arts, brain science, technology-enhanced learning, cybersecurity, design, robotics, and big data. CMU challenges the curious and passionate to deliver work that matters. CMU scholars stand tall among Nobel Laureates, Turing Award winners, national academy members and other global leaders in research and creativity. By focusing on the challenges facing society, CMU students and faculty collaborate across disciplines, sometimes developing entire new fields of study.

Since its founding in 1900, CMU has engaged deeply with practitioners and partners in the public and private sectors, from Silicon Valley to Broadway. In 2014 alone, CMU’s vibrant innovation ecosystem created 36 spinoff companies. CMU has more than 350 corporate partners, relationships that attracted companies such as Google, Apple, Intel, Disney, Uber, GE, Boeing, and Tata Consultancy Services to Pittsburgh. The university makes a significant contribution to the regional economy while it enriches the area’s cultural and civic life. CMU graduates are some of the most highly sought-after recruits in emerging fields, finding success and blazing new trails in their careers.

By the Numbers

More than 6,300 undergraduates and 7,000 graduate students in the university’s seven schools and colleges benefit from a variety of curricular and research opportunities, and an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for global issues, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation.

Several Carnegie Mellon schools and departments rank in the top 10 according to U.S. News & World Report: computer science (1), undergraduate engineering (6), fine arts (7), graduate engineering (4), undergraduate business (7), part-time MBA (7), statistics (9), and public affairs (9).

Carnegie Mellon is affiliated with 19 Nobel Laureates, 19 members of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 50 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 14 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 12 Turing Award recipients, three Guggenheim Fellows, one MacArthur Foundation Fellow, one National Book Award winner, two National Medal of Science winners, and five National Medal of Technology and Innovation winners. In addition, former faculty and alumni have won seven Academy Awards, 130 Emmy Awards, and 41 Tony Awards.

A Global Community

An internationally connected and culturally diverse community, Carnegie Mellon has campuses in Pittsburgh, Silicon Valley, and Qatar as well as programs in New York City, Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and Latin America. More than 100,000 alumni around the world help foster the university’s global perspective.

University Leadership

Subra Suresh became the ninth President of Carnegie Mellon in July 2013. Prior to assuming his role, he served as director of the National Science Foundation. A distinguished engineer and scientist, President Suresh is one of only 16 Americans and the only university president to be elected to all three National Academies – the Institute of Medicine (2013), the National Academy of Sciences (2012) and the National Academy of Engineering (2002). He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he received the 2013 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. At Carnegie Mellon, he has launched new research initiatives in brain science, technology-enhanced learning, and data sciences, and has worked to enhance the university’s many offerings and programs in entrepreneurship and innovation.

Dr. Suresh was nominated by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in September 2010. As director of this $7 billion independent federal agency, he led the only government science agency charged with advancing all fields of fundamental science and engineering research and related education. Before joining NSF, he served as the Dean of the School of Engineering and the Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). President Suresh received his Bachelor of Technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, with First Class with Distinction honors; a master’s degree from Iowa State University; a Doctor of Science degree from MIT; and completed postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He joined the faculty of engineering at Brown University in December 1983, and was promoted to full professor in July 1989. He joined MIT in 1993 as the R.P. Simmons Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and served as head of MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering during 2000 to 2006.

For more information on Carnegie Mellon, please visit

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The City of Pittsburgh has successfully reinvented itself from a steel and manufacturing center to a city that today is leading America in health care, technology and education. The region is on the cusp of tremendous growth and expansion. The riverfront area facing downtown is designed to be one of the most spectacular urban waterfront projects in the U.S., featuring green space and “water steps,” along with a fishing pier. A view of the city’s skyline is rarely better than from atop Mount Washington, just 10 minutes from campus, one of Pittsburgh’s most famous hills, home to eclectic eateries and historic neighborhoods.

Pittsburgh has a rich history in arts and culture. Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts is home to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the Benedum Center houses the Pittsburgh Opera. The city has a long tradition of jazz, blues and bluegrass music. In addition, the Pittsburgh Dance Council and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater host a variety of dance events. Major art museums include the Andy Warhol Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Frick Art & Historical Center, and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. The ToonSeum, one of three museums in the U.S. dedicated to cartoon art, is located downtown, and downtown’s cultural district hosts quarterly Gallery Crawls and the annual Three Rivers Arts Festival.

Pittsburgh is one of the fastest-growing industrial cities in the country and has an incredible melting pot of cultures from every part of the world. Compared to major metropolitan cities, it offers an exceptional quality of life with a robust arts, culture and dining scene. The Culture of Pittsburgh stems from the city’s long history as a center for cultural philanthropy, as well as its rich ethnic traditions. Pittsburgh has transformed into a vibrant community and has gone through a Renaissance. The economy in Pittsburgh is strong and important. Businesses such as Google, Disney and GE have established significant facilities in Pittsburgh, setting up offices and laboratories within the past three years. Today, the result is a pastiche of customs, cuisine, and linguistic oddities that are absolutely unique.

The Opportunity:

In July 2016, Carnegie Mellon appointed Dr. Rodney P. McClendon to the newly created role of Vice President for Operations, and he has since undertaken a number of substantive initiatives and projects. As a result, the need for a Chief Risk Officer was identified to evaluate, address and coordinate all efforts across the university around risk and exposure, and to consolidate these efforts in one centralized department.

Reporting directly to the Vice President for Operations, the Associate Vice President and Chief Risk Officer (CRO) will have a full appreciation and well-rounded knowledge of Enterprise Risk Management issues affecting institutions of higher education, including emergency response and management, crisis response and management, operational risk, laboratory and research risk, technology and cyber risks and mitigation, business continuity, disaster recovery, insurance management and facility/environmental vulnerability, and threat assessment. The breadth of issues that are directly and indirectly connected to these areas of oversight are of critical importance for the success of CMU’s central administrative functions, and for the university’s academic goals and research mission.

In a research institution environment, where conditions for risk constantly evolve and unfamiliar situations continually emerge, this individual will help create a common understanding of risk and risk management campus-wide. The CRO will be charged with evaluating the functionality of the existing and discrete risk management organizations across CMU, and will have the opportunity to realign the Risk Management function at CMU to lead a cohesive unit with a comprehensive budget. This leader will identify and address gaps in the organization, and will have the ability and foresight to measure, monitor, control and report on risk exposures, including educating the community and campus stakeholders in leading the university’s response.

A major part of CMU’s success and history has been the university’s commitment to an ethos within the institution of close partnerships between the central administration (President, Provost, Vice Presidents and Vice Provosts) and the key academic leadership provided by the Deans and Department Heads in the various colleges and schools of the university. The new Associate Vice President will benefit from strong leadership throughout the divisions and within the Operations Group, and will be expected to grow and nurture management talent for those under her/his charge. It is expected that the ideal candidate will have a strong team ethos, cultivating and rewarding smart, collaborative solutions to complex institutional issues spanning the functions under their oversight.

Key Responsibilities:

The Associate Vice President and Chief Risk Officer will lead the evolution of CMU’s Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) framework through the development and deployment of risk management tools and practices, as well as governance processes. This role will be instrumental in creating and leading a cross-functional risk working group to provide risk intelligence to executive leadership and inform strategic decision-making, and will coordinate where necessary with the Office of General Counsel and the Dean of Students, among other groups. The CRO will act as an advisor to risk champions to create and execute strategies to optimize CMU’s risk positions.

  • Develop and deploy the core ERM toolset including risk identification, assessment, prioritization, mitigation, monitoring, reporting templates and communication tools;
  • Establish and maintain a governance framework that includes local risk perspective and escalates critical risk intelligence to executive leadership;
  • Work with risk owners to complete periodic risk analysis and develop risk documentation and reporting, including for regulatory requirements that the university is subject to;
  • Assess and implement effective business continuity and disaster recovery measures across CMU;
  • Lead projects to develop and execute risk optimization strategies for key strategic initiatives;
  • Partner with risk champions to understand key drivers or risks, and strategies to address these risks;
  • Partner with education leaders to provide periodic risk education;
  • Maintain the risk inventory and periodically update CMU’s enterprise risk profile for discussion with executive management and the Board of Trustees’ Audit Committee;
  • Enhance Emergency Response Procedures, including broad-based training and designation of responsibilities and improved emergency protocols;
  • Identify safety concerns and regularly convene stakeholders to ensure holistic awareness and coordination of mitigation activities;
  • Work with University Police to develop a campus awareness and action education program.

Candidate Profile:

The Associate Vice President and Chief Risk Officer will be an experienced leader with a significant track record of successful, progressive, and applicable experience in the leadership of risk management, with an understanding of the issues affecting higher education institutions. This leader will have a strong understanding of the principles of the institution, a progressive outlook towards best practices, and a comprehensive vision for the intersection of risk management and compliance across the university. The CRO will have a commitment to the inter-disciplinarity central to Carnegie Mellon’s philosophy, along with the goal of raising Carnegie Mellon’s profile in the world of higher education. The CRO will be a resourceful person with gravitas who can handle conflict, foster understanding, and advance ideas with the ability to communicate candidly and inspire trust.

The CRO will be a decisive, results-oriented leader with a strong background of success in risk management and compliance, overseeing Enterprise Risk Management across CMU’s multiple campuses and evolving aspirations. Flexible in adjusting to emerging needs or shifting priorities, s/he will be an excellent motivator able to inspire a shared vision, quality performance and strong morale. The CRO will also demonstrate the ability to build, nurture and retain a strong team of professionals that is focused on excellence, accountability and efficiency.

Speaking knowledgably and with confidence, the CRO will demonstrate professional maturity through an ability to earn the respect of leadership, faculty, administration, staff, students, federal agencies, external partners, and the greater CMU community. In addition, the ideal candidate should be dedicated to the safety and well-being of all employees and students and the overall strength of the university. With demonstrated professional and personal integrity and honesty through consistent and transparent action throughout her/his career, this leader will be a highly ethical individual with a consistent focus on the future of Carnegie Mellon, and will share the university’s deep commitment to a campus culture that prizes diversity and inclusion, respect and mutual engagement. A Bachelor’s degree is required with an advanced degree or equivalent experience preferred.

The ideal candidate will have the following personal competencies and characteristics:

Strategic and Entrepreneurial Leader:

The Associate Vice President and Chief Risk Officer will be a highly experienced, respected leader with an entrepreneurial spirit and a results-driven mindset. A proven strategic thinker with the vision, capacity, and experience to understand and balance a complex array of constituent needs, this leader will approach organizational change in a practical way. The CRO will demonstrate the ability to diagnose critical areas for attention, educate and build consensus with stakeholders, and develop and implement decisive, clear strategies that anticipate and account for problems with effective solutions. S/he will be agile in ambiguous situations, including budgetary, and capable of providing stability and inspiring confidence when faced with important and quickly-changing circumstances. S/he will be a proactive change agent, with the capacity and mindset to challenge the status quo yet employ a servant-leadership approach and remaining sensitive to CMU’s culture.

Relationship Builder and Collaborator:

Critical to success in this role, the CRO will be skilled at building and sustaining excellent relationships and partnerships across all levels of the institution, including with the various organizations currently engaging in risk management across CMU. A leader who commands natural respect, the CRO will partner with peer executive administrators and academic leaders, building positive working relationships across divisions, identifying efficiencies and opportunities for the benefit of the university as a whole. S/he will be consultative, promoting open dialogue across the university and with team members to synthesize divergent views and coalesce CMU around shared best practices for risk management. S/he will be proactive in partnering with others to address the human impact of change on campus members.

Expertise in Risk Management and Compliance:

The CRO will have a high level of acumen in assessing and evaluating risk, risk strategy and ethics, and have a demonstrated ability to lead and manage enterprise risk for a large, complex organization. With an appreciation for the unique issues that affect higher education institutions – including governmental regulations, residential planning, campus operations, finance and compliance, cyber security, disaster recovery, privacy and security– s/he will oversee the adequacy and soundness of the university’s risk management and compliance issues, and will collaborate with the Office of the General Counsel and other stakeholders. With the university’s financial and personnel needs in mind, s/he will employ appropriate approaches to forecast institutional progress and achieve sustainable, well-supported solutions. The CRO will manage and mentor a team of professionals working toward specific, measurable goals, including coalescing CMU’s disparate risk management entities around a shared goal and structure.

Persuasive and Influential Communicator:

The CRO will possess exceptional verbal and written communication skills, clearly articulating complex issues to senior leaders and stakeholders, as well as to the broader CMU community. Driven by consensus, s/he will have an inspired ability to listen intently, think clearly and respond effectively and persistently to a variety of challenges, synthesize input, make decisions, and share information with a clearly articulated and collaborative vision. The CRO will demonstrate the ability to build community both inside and outside of the direct areas of oversight, skillfully negotiating challenges across the institution through clear communication, breaking down communication silos and barriers. This leader will garner institutional and campus support for all aspects of enterprise risk management and compliance, and will strive to motivate others with a high degree of transparency and clarity.


Carnegie Mellon has exclusively retained Koya Leadership Partners for this search. This search is being led by Michelle Bonoan and Medelene Beasley. To express your interest in this role, please submit your materials through Koya’s online link here or email Michelle and Medelene at the following:

Michelle R.S. Bonoan
Managing Director

Medelene Beasley

Carnegie Mellon is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer committed to excellence through diversity and strongly encourages applications from women, minorities, and other under-represented groups. CMU is responsive to the needs of dual career couples and is dedicated to work-life balance through an array of family-friendly policies.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information, visit