August 23, 2021 – Executive recruitment firm Anthem Executive has placed David Massaron, budget director for the State of Michigan, as chief business officer and CFO/senior vice president for finance and business operations and treasurer for Wayne State University in Detroit. Mr. Massaron will assume his new role upon the completion of the fiscal year 2022 budget for the state. Leading the assignment were Michael Ballew, Scott Watson, and Mike “JR” Wheless, co-founders, principals and consultants, along with Leyla Kayi, research and search operations, higher education.
Mr. Massaron succeeds Rebecca Cooke, who came out of retirement to serve in the position on an interim basis. Ms. Cooke previously served as associate vice president for finance and administration, health affairs, as well as vice dean, finance, for the School of Medicine. She replaced William Decatur, who retired at the end of 2019.
A Vital Role
“We held a national search for this important position and found our ideal candidate right here in Detroit,” said M. Roy Wilson, president of Wayne State University. “Dave is a proven leader and problem-solver, with a demonstrated ability to find creative solutions and build consensus. He is a great fit for us, and we’re delighted he is joining Wayne State.”
Mr. Massaron will be responsible for the university’s overall financial and business affairs, including budget preparation of the general and auxiliary funds, business services, human resources and facilities management. In this capacity, Mr. Massaron will be expected to work closely with the university’s board of governors, senior leadership and faculty, as well as key members of the local and state business and political communities.
“I feel that my career and experiences have equipped me well for this position, and I’m excited to join Wayne State and help serve its extraordinary mission,” said Mr. Massaron. “As a native and current Detroiter with strong connections to the university, I feel like this is coming home, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Before joining the state, Mr. Massaron served as chief financial officer for the City of Detroit, where he supervised all of the city’s financial and budget activities. Prior to his CFO assignment, he was the city’s chief operating officer and senior counsel to mayor Mike Duggan. In that role, he was responsible for day-to-day operations of the city, including ensuring that annual budgets reflected the mayor’s priorities.
His accomplishments with the city include achieving five years of balanced budgets post-bankruptcy, implementing a $1.8 billion capital investment strategy to improve city infrastructure and facilities, and developing the crisis management strategy to deploy federal funds and reduce city expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure continued solvency for the city.
Wayne State University, founded in 1868, is a nationally recognized public, urban research university in Detroit. Wayne State is Michigan’s only urban research university and is known internationally for its contributions to the sciences. The university enrolls more than 26,000 students, making it the third largest among Michigan’s 15 public universities and one of the 50 largest in the nation. Wayne State boasts the most diverse student body among Michigan’s public universities, with students from nearly every U.S. state and 70 countries. Wayne State has more than 2,500 faculty members — of whom approximately 1,600 are full-time — and nearly 4,000 staff members.
Anthem Executive, headquartered in Houston, TX, serves clients across a range of business sectors, including higher education, health sciences, corporate and non-profit institutions, global software and technology, private equity, insurance, service and manufacturing, oil and gas, and others. Its consultants bring a combined 80 years’ experience in the search industry. The firm’s higher education practice spans the entire leadership spectrum. In other sectors, Anthem Executive covers all roles from CEO and other C-suite leaders, board directors, vice president and director, and others.
Anthem Executive Recruits CEO for Jewish Federation
Anthem Executive placed Rabbi Noah Farkas as president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles (JFGLA). He will succeed Jay Sanderson who led the organization for the past 12 years. Leading the assignment were co-founders and consultants Michael Ballew, Mike J.R. Wheless, Scott Watson and senior client service partner Florene Stawowy. “Noah is an enormously talented leader who combines a reasoned and principled approach to address the greatest needs facing our community,” said Albert Z. Praw, chair of the Jewish Federation. “I am enormously confident in Noah’s commitment to the mission statement of the federation and its strategic initiatives as well as his ability to lead our federation through its next stage of growth.”
Mr. Ballew, a registered Native American and member of the Echota Cherokee Tribe, serves as the firm’s chief diversity, inclusion, equity and compliance officer, as well as search committee facilitator. He joined the executive search industry 14 years ago following a 20-plus year career in senior-level management with expertise in recruiting, counseling, training, operations, strategic planning, facilitation, project management and workplace diversity.
Mr. Watson has been in the executive search industry for over 30 years. In addition to higher education institutions, he has served hospital/health systems, global software and technology companies, private equity enterprises, MCOs, insurance companies, service and manufacturing organizations with global footprints, and others.
Mr. Wheless, a veteran of more than two decades in the search industry, has served a broad portfolio of clients across many industry lines on behalf of organizations ranging from small operations to Fortune $100 billion plus enterprises – including working with and recruiting some of the nation’s most influential leadership. Mr. Wheless has served institutions and organizations across a broad range of geographies and sectors in higher education, technology, healthcare, energy, financial services, law, insurance, hospitality and food services, retail, CPG, EPC, manufacturing, aerospace, mining, construction and real estate.
Ms. Kayi focuses on research and identifying top talent in higher education and academic medicine. Her diverse background spans marketing communications, public relations, fundraising and educational administration.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media