Robert E. Kaffer


Dr. Robert E. Kaffer’s roots at Hyatt-Fennell stretch back more than two decades, to a time before Hyatt-Fennell itself even existed. Thanks to his invaluable work alongside Weezie Fennell on numerous executive searches in the 1990s and 2000s, Dr. Kaffer was invited to join Hyatt-Fennell when the firm was launched in the early 2010s.

After completing graduate school, Dr. Kaffer served the field of higher education for nearly 25 years in a wide array of teaching and administrative roles. His distinguished accomplishments at various institutions have included Department Chair, Consortium Director, Assistant Dean, Dean, Vice President for Administration, President, and Executive Assistant to the President. He also spent several years heading his own executive search firm for higher education prior to joining Hyatt-Fennell.

What does Dr. Kaffer believe is the secret ingredient that makes Hyatt-Fennell’s executive search process so effective? “The most important element,” says Dr. Kaffer, “is the compatibility of the goals, abilities and strengths of the candidate with the expectations and needs of the institution, and especially of the supervisor.” After all, Hyatt-Fennell is in the people business, and Dr. Kaffer’s extensive interpersonal expertise helps him understand what makes every new client organization he works with tick.

“Hyatt-Fennell works collaboratively with each search committee,” says Dr. Kaffer. “Our communication with both the candidates and the institution is timely, consistent and forthright. Through our thorough recruitment and vetting process, we come to know each candidate quite well. These relationships with our candidates and institutions typically continue long after a search has been completed. The Hyatt-Fennell network is quite extensive — and current — which is a real benefit for every new search we conduct.”

In addition to his many years of service in higher education, Dr. Kaffer has written numerous articles and presented papers on sociological topics, including executive search in higher education.