WittKieffer Names Head of Education Practice
July 15, 2020 – WittKieffer has named Zachary A. Smith as managing partner of its education practice. He inherits the role from colleague Robin Mamlet, with whom he co-led the practice for the past year as part of a planned transition. Ms. Mamlet remains with the firm and will continue to partner with Mr. Smith in the coming year while also devoting more time to leadership searches for presidents, provosts and other key positions.
“Zach shares the same dedication as Robin to bringing transformational leadership to mission-driven institutions around the world,” said Andrew Chastain, president and CEO of WittKieffer. “In his extensive work and his service to our board, he has helped us to maintain our high standards of quality and excellence. We know that he will build on Robin’s leadership, continuing to expand the ways that we serve today’s colleges and universities as they make a difference to their communities and society at large,” he said.
In his new position, Mr. Smith will oversee operations and manage the more than 30 consultants within the education practice, ensuring continued exceptional quality and client service. He benefits from a wealth of higher education administration experience. Prior to joining WittKieffer in 2014, Mr. Smith served as interim chief development officer and associate vice chancellor at University of California, Riverside, in addition to his role as executive vice president of the UC Riverside Foundation. He also worked in the advancement and academic medicine divisions at University of California, Irvine.
Since joining WittKieffer, Mr. Smith has supported and led executive leadership searches for a broad range of public and private universities, academic medical centers and hospitals. He also serves on the firm’s board of directors.
WittKieffer, based in Oak Brook, IL, assists hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, medical schools and physician groups; biotech, pharmaceutical, diagnostics and medical device companies; colleges and universities and not-for-profit community service and cultural organizations with senior administrative recruiting assignments. With more than 100 search professionals nationwide, its consultants recruit CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CNOs, physician executives and other leaders.
Growing Higher Education Practice
WittKieffer’s education recruitment team identifies higher education and college preparatory school leaders who understand complex issues facing both public and private institutions: resource constraints, shifting national policy and increased scrutiny by boards, faculty, students and families. The education roles it recruits include presidents, provosts, deans, and officers for business and finance, advancement and development, student affairs, enrollment, IT and more.
WittKieffer’s education practice recently added former Stony Brook University vice president Greg Duyck as a principal in its education practice. He possesses great depth of expertise to his role, drawing upon two decades of experience in fundraising and executive search in higher education.
“We are very excited to bring Greg’s energy and success in executive recruitment to WittKieffer,” said Mr. Smith. “His administrative experience with colleges and universities as well as a broad mix of other organizations gives him unique insight into today’s executive talent challenges. He will serve the evolving needs of our clients well and be an integral part of our expanding consulting team.”
The firm also added former athletic director Jeff Compher as a principal in its education practice, where he heads recruitment for directors of athletics, coaches and other college sports leaders. Mr. Compher has unique insight into college athletics and the types of individuals who thrive in leadership roles. He brings to the position over 25 years of experience at leading colleges and universities, having served director of athletics for East Carolina University, Northern Illinois University and Western Carolina University
“Jeff is a highly respected figure in college sports,” said Mr. Smith. “He has always emphasized building a student-athlete experience that complements an institution’s educational mission, a perspective that will be invaluable to WittKieffer clients looking for progressive athletic leadership. We are thrilled he’s joining our firm and look forward to working with him to cultivate exceptional candidates for our clients.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media