Organization: University of Washington

Location: Seattle, WA

Express Interest

University of Washington

About The University of Washington:

The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public research universities, ranked number 9 among all global universities in 2017 by the Center for World University Rankings, and second in external research support among all national universities. The UW is a multi-campus university located in Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell, as well as a world-class academic medical center. Together, the UW’s three campuses anchor the Puget Sound area and benefit from the region’s Pacific Rim location, the growth of the Pacific Northwest, and the dynamism of Seattle.

The UW educates more than 54,000 students annually, offering over 579 degree options across 306 programs. Additionally, the UW’s Continuum College (formerly Educational Outreach) educates more than 50,000 students annually through UW Professional & Continuing Education and other programs.

The UW’s 16 colleges and schools offer 1,800 undergraduate courses each quarter and confer more than 12,000 bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees annually.  The UW is also home to six renowned health science education programs, including Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Nursing, Social Work, and Public Health. The School of Medicine currently serves as a community-based medical school for a five-state region (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho). UW Medicine and health sciences professionals support a world-class health care system that serves the needs of the people of the State of Washington and the surrounding areas.

The University is governed by a ten-member Board of Regents, which is appointed by the Governor of Washington to renewable six-year terms, and includes one student appointed annually. The Regents meet monthly in open session and have three standing committees: Governance, Finance and Asset Management, and Academic and Student Affairs—as well as a number of advisory committees.

University of Washington staff enjoy professional growth opportunities and an environment noted for diversity, community involvement, intellectual excitement, artistic pursuits, and natural beauty. Seattle is the nation’s fastest-growing city, with a population of approximately 700,000 in the city proper and over two million in the region.  Major corporations headquartered in the Puget Sound area include Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Costco, and Weyerhaeuser.

Financial Overview:

The University of Washington is one of the five largest employers in the state with a 2017 budget of nearly $7.1 billion including affiliated hospitals. The UW receives more research dollars than any other public university in the nation, with $1.37 billion in awards in FY 2016.  The University’s annual economic impact on the State of Washington is approximately $12.5 billion, up from $9.1 billion just five years ago.  The University’s endowment exceeds $3 billion and its credit rating is Aaa (Moody’s). The University’s financial reports are available at

Position Summary:

The Vice President for Finance (VP Finance) reports to the Executive Vice President for Finance & Administration (EVPFA), and is a key member of the University’s administrative management team. The VP for Finance brings a strategic vision for the finance function in a complex, world-class institution. S/he is a proven innovator with the imagination and the implementation skills to deliver significant improvements in financial capabilities, systems, and infrastructure.   The VP Finance partners with the EVPFA and others to set the direction for Finance and provides functional leadership, oversight, and stewardship of the University’s financial resources. S/he serves as a key thought partner and strategic advisor to the EVPFA and recommends financial and administrative objectives, policies, programs, and practices that ensure a sound fiscal structure for the University. The VP Finance is integral to the development of a long-term sustainable economic model that ensures the financial viability and growth of the University. S/he is responsible for the management of financial matters and compliance with audit findings and relevant regulations. The VP Finance has executive-level oversight for University cash management and adherence to financial/fiduciary requirements such as debt covenants.  The VP Finance contributes to advancing the University’s mission to support academics, research, and patient care while also advancing the strategic direction of the University. S/he promotes and supports a climate of innovation, creative problem solving, and diversity of thought, people, and cultures.

The VP Finance works closely with campus departments including UW Medicine, Intercollegiate Athletics, Risk Management, Student Life, and auxiliaries.  The position also collaborates closely with the Office of Planning & Budgeting in defining the University’s business model and budget priorities, while ensuring fiscal sustainability.

The VP Finance oversees an administrative organization that includes major aspects of finance and business services. Reporting to the VP Finance is the Associate Vice President & Controller, Associate Vice President of Treasury, the Associate Vice President of Enterprise Services, the Finance Transformation project, and the Integrated Service Center.

The Office of the Controller is responsible for the University’s fiscal accounting, financial reporting, grants and contracts accounting, management accounting and analysis, student accounts, and equipment inventory.

The Treasury Office is responsible for the administration of the University’s debt portfolio including the issuance of new debt and administration of the institution’s internal bank, financial analysis to support capital investments, cash management policy, debt capacity analysis, and long range financial forecasting.

Enterprise Services manages several units including procurement, tax, publications/printing and mailing services, global support, university records management, public records/open meetings and the data management/analytic support for UW Finance. Enterprise Services also oversees the Integrated Service Center–a new department created to support the University’s Workday Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform.  Workday was implemented on June 27, 2017, for Human Resources/Payroll.

The VP Finance is the lead functional sponsor for the UW Finance Transformation Project, in collaboration with the Chief Financial Officer of UW Medicine.  Implementation of a finance ERP will occur in approximately two years, replacing the University’s legacy finance systems.  This ERP will provide university administrators with greater visibility across the institution regarding current performance, projected future needs, and financial challenges. The anticipated project will include establishing a new chart of accounts, designing new business processes, and implementing a new financial platform for the University.

Key Responsibilities

  1. Lead the University’s Finance management team and a central Finance organization of 350 employees.  Serve as functional leader for the Finance function across campus, including key academic units and UW Medicine.
  2. Work with others to develop and sustain a financial strategy for the University, in support of the University’s academic, clinical, and research mission.  Provide ongoing evaluation of short and long-term strategic financial requirements and objectives.
  3. Create and sustain an environment of service excellence, customer service, effectiveness, and innovation.
  4. Ensure that the University’s control function reflects best practices for R1 institutions, to include timely and accurate accounting, controls, management reporting and analytics.  Ensure compliance with GAAP and other applicable federal, state, and local regulations and standards.
  5. Manage the capital structure of the University, ensuring the coordination and availability of financial resources for academic, clinical, and other priorities.  Ensure the ongoing availability of financial capacity through a rigorous financing and debt strategy.
  6. Manage the key components of the Enterprise Services portfolio, including the sponsorship of alliances with key suppliers, the negotiation of critical contracts, the successful management of the University’s printing operation, compliance with open records requests, and associated functions.
  7. Serve as functional sponsor for the Financial Transformation Project, including primary accountability for the implementation of the new financial system.
  8. Serve as the University’s primary interface to the Board of Regents Audit Advisory Committee and coordinate the University’s activities in support of/response to external and other audits.
  9. Provide executive management with decision support advice on the financial implications of business activities, the costs of strategic priorities, and funding options.
  10. Present financial initiatives to key stakeholders, including the Board of Regents.
  11. Serve on the EVPFA management team and the President’s Cabinet.

Core Competencies:

The ideal candidate will have at least ten years of financial and business management experience in roles directly related to the duties and responsibilities of the position. In addition, ideal candidates will have the following core competencies, personal qualities, and qualifications:

Strategic and Visionary Leadership & Management

The VP Finance will be a strategic thinker with the vision, capacity, knowledge and expertise to set a direction for the Finance function, closely aligning with the University’s academic and administrative strategy.  S/he will understand and balance a complex array of constituent needs and available/potential funding sources.  This leader will have the perspective to consider the short- and long-term impacts of decisions, plans, and programs on the University and make sound recommendations accordingly. The VP Finance will bring superb management skills and will build a culture of accountability using a collaborative and team-oriented leadership style. S/he will have good judgment in recognizing talent and building strong, diverse teams that are empowered to achieve individual and institutional goals.

Financial Expertise and Integrity

The VP Finance will have progressive experience in financial and administrative leadership roles including the management of an integrated Finance department. This leader will also have unquestionable professional integrity and will bring demonstrated success in developing financial infrastructure that supports academic and strategic priorities. The successful candidate will possess the following experience and credentials:

  • Leadership
  • Strategic financial planning
  • Financial modeling, forecasting, and reporting
  • Financial analysis and decision support
  • Accounting and fiscal management
  • Debt financing
  • Financial risk management and compliance
  • Ability to operate in a complex and diverse matrixed environment
  • Keen interest in higher education finance
  • Managing and motivating diverse teams
  • Experience supporting and presenting to boards on financial matters and capital investment is essential

An advanced degree (MBA) or (MPA) is required with a CPA and/or CFA preferred.  Equivalent experience for an advanced degree may be considered.

Change Management

The successful candidate will have a strong record of accomplishment in leading large-scale projects and organizational change. Experience of the following is strongly preferred: project management, process improvement, enterprise-wide system implementation, organizational transformation, and the ability to work through complex issues while dealing with ambiguity.

Collaboration/ Relationship Building and Influencing

The VP Finance will possess outstanding and influential communication abilities and superb listening skills.  S/he will be respectful of diverse viewpoints and will inspire both internal and external stakeholders. The VP Finance will be adept at facilitating connections and building partnerships and collaborations based on trust and credibility to establish the necessary partnerships with the President, Provost, Board of Trustees, senior administrative team, faculty, staff, students, and external partners. The VP Finance will have the ability to communicate effectively regarding campus financial goals, develop creative strategies, and work successfully and collaboratively in a complex and fluid environment.


The University of Washington has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to assist with identifying qualified candidates for this opportunity. This search is being led by Beth Schaefer, Liz Neumann and Medelene Beasley. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here or email Liz, Beth or Medelene at the following:

Liz Neumann
Managing Director

Beth Schaefer
Vice President, Executive Search

Medelene Beasley
Principal, Executive Search

At the University of Washington, diversity is integral to excellence. We value and honor diverse experiences and perspectives, strive to create welcoming and respectful learning environments, and promote access, opportunity and justice for all.

People who represent cultures from around the world help everyone at the UW gain perspective and make meaningful impact, so we strive to create an inclusive and accessible environment for all. Our Race & Equity Initiative allows us to work toward achieving our mission – together we will support and sustain diversity and equity at the UW.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations, educational institutions, 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 about Koya Leadership Partners, visit