Buffkin / Baker Finds New CFO for Princeton Theological Seminary

February 8, 2024 – Partner-led executive search firm Buffkin / Baker recently assisted in the recruitment of Jean Hall as the new CFO of Princeton Theological Seminary. Leading the assignment is Martin M. Baker, managing partner, and Pelema Ellis, associate partner. “Jean Hall’s appointment as chief financial officer represents a continuation of her excellent work to date and a commitment to the future financial health and strategic direction of Princeton Theological Seminary,” said Jonathan Lee Walton, president. “I am confident that our financial operations will thrive under her leadership, underpinning our broader mission of academic excellence and moral leadership.”

Ms. Hall’s appointment as CFO follows a comprehensive national search. She has served as interim CFO at Princeton Seminary since April 2023, having previously served in interim roles as the vice president for finance and Operations/CFO at Manhattanville College (Purchase, New York), Knox College (Galesburg, IL), and Bethany College (Lindsborg, KS). She also brings experience from prior executive finance roles in healthcare and non-profit organizations. Ms. Hall is a seasoned finance professional with strong analytical and leadership skills. In prior roles, she has led teams to be more cohesive, recruited top talent to fill vacancies, conducted assessments, and developed a comprehensive institutional strategic plan.

“In the months that she has been with us, Jean Hall has quickly distinguished herself as a trusted partner, an adept problem-solver, and a person of deep Christian faith who understands the mission of Princeton Seminary,” said Anne Stewart, executive vice president. “With her breadth of experience in higher education, keen eye for detail, and ability to lead change with conviction and grace, she has been and will remain a valued and valuable member of our team.”

“Jean is a deeply experienced senior financial leader, and she demonstrated that from her first day as our interim CFO,” said Jay Marshall, member of the board of trustees. “We are so fortunate to have her join us in the permanent role.”

“I feel blessed to be at Princeton Theological Seminary,” said Ms. Hall. “My work here as the interim CFO along with my previous experience in other institutions of higher education have given me the opportunity to see what a special place the Seminary is. It is a uniquely caring community, and that encourages each of us to perform our best work. It will be a privilege to work alongside the rest of the Princeton Seminary community as we work to build on our rich history and position Princeton Seminary for continued success in an environment that is changing dramatically, and to enhance our ability to fulfill our mission for the years and generations to come.”

Princeton Theological Seminary, officially the Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church, is a private school of theology in Princeton, NJ. Founded in 1812 under the auspices of Archibald Alexander, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, and the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), it is the second-oldest seminary in the U.S. It is also the largest of 10 seminaries associated with the Presbyterian Church.

Related: Buffkin / Baker Recruits Sixth President for Christopher Newport University

Princeton Theological Seminary recently used AGB Search to recruit Jonathan Lee Walton as its eighth president. “Dr. Walton brings to Princeton Seminary indispensable experience in leading change at institutions that both value the gifts of tradition and also seek a future calling to serve as a resource to ever more diverse churches and communities,” said Eric D. Barreto, Frederick and Margaret L. Weyerhaeuser associate professor of new testament and a member of the presidential search committee. “His scholarly acumen, his love of Princeton Seminary, his prophetic posture, and his powerful preaching will help us discern how best to build on the good Princeton Seminary has done thus far and to imagine what is next for this seminary with so much to share in a changing world.”

Higher Education Specialists

Buffkin / Baker is a specialty boutique search firm composed of industry leaders in their respective fields and each has over a decade of retained search experience. Their focus as search professionals is to recruit leaders in digital marketing/advertising, technology, healthcare, media/entertainment, finance, higher education, and non-profit. The firm serves public, private, venture, and private equity-backed companies. Its office locations include Nashville, TN; New York; Washington, D.C.; and Winston Salem, NC, with affiliate offices in London.

Buffkin / Baker is a member of Panorama Search, an international federation of retained firms with 18 firms and over 30 offices globally. Buffkin / Baker formed in 2017 with the merger of the Buffkin Group and Baker and Associates LLC.

WittKieffer Tapped by Franklin Pierce University to Lead President Search
WittKieffer has been selected by Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, NH, to lead its search for a new president. Current president Kim Mooney has announced she is retiring at the end of this academic year. Lucy LeskeJeff Compher, and Kim Migoya are leading the assignment. “As the search process gets underway, the WittKieffer team will consult widely with Franklin Pierce faculty, students, staff, alumni and other stakeholders to gather insights and ideas about the future leadership needs of the university moving forward,” said Frederick W. Pierce, chair of the board of trustees. “WittKieffer’s president-search team tailors their services and approach to the specific needs and institutional profile of each client they serve,” said Steve Duprey, vice chair of the board. “They have conducted more than 130 leadership searches for colleges and universities in the last decade alone.” The board of trustees will also soon appoint a search committee to work with the board and with WittKieffer to assist in the search for the university’s seventh president.

Based in Winston Salem, NC, Mr. Baker has been in executive search for more than 22 years. In addition to his role as managing partner, he is also head of the firm’s higher education practice. He previously worked in the Atlanta office of Korn Ferry, where he developed search strategy and executed searches for numerous senior-level appointments.  He began his career as a research associate with Saxton Bampfylde, an executive search and management assessment firm in London. He has conducted searches for the positions of CEO, CFO, CIO, provost, dean, director, and professor, having worked on over 350 searches throughout his career.

Dr. Ellis works within Buffkin / Baker’s higher education practice. He brings more than 20 years of experience in driving a strategic effort through a variety of roles in higher education. Previously, Dr. Ellis served as president at Great Bay Community College.

Related: Buffkin / Baker Recruits Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of San Diego

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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