John Fennebresque, the Charlotte attorney who is Chairman of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, can’t be as complicated a person as he comes off as being in recent newspaper reports. It was his idea to dismiss UNC President Tom Ross earlier than Ross had intended to stay before retirement. Fennebresque couldn't grasp the push-back Ross gave to the "early retirement" otherwise known as a dismissal.
There’s no doubt the Chairman will have his fingerprints all over the selection of the next President. Oh, he’ll listen to his fellow BOG members, probably thanking them for their input. He’ll have a direct hand in hiring a search firm to solicit possible replacements, but there’s no guarantee he’ll take their suggestions. He says he’ll not be pressured by those who appointed him to the BOG, the Republican members of the NC General Assembly, but that seems far-fetched as well. It seems he doesn't report to anyone but someone out there has his ears.
Fennebresque has an interesting background which sounds familiar in that he didn’t really care enough about higher education to excel until he met his future wife and went to law school. To get to where he in his profession and in civic volunteerism (if that’s what we call being a member of the BOG), he made all the right moves, worked hard and took advantage of the right situations.
At this point in the search process, potential search firms and the BOG at large are seeking more guidance in what type of person is being sought: educator, business person, politician, all of the above, none of the above. However, there is little discussion about those goals to be attained by the new President. Here’s what Fennebresque said recently: “We want an agent of change, but we don’t know the specifics of what we want to change. Do I think the board ought to get together and be able to talk back and forth about what they’re looking for? Yes. Do I think there will be a precise itemization of the factors or traits of a new leader or a new job description coming out of that? Probably not.”
And, that’s because Fennebresque is firmly in charge. He’s not as complicated as he seems. He just sounds that way. He’ll let the board get together and develop guidelines for changes to the system and for selecting the person to make the changes. Then he’ll thank the members of the BOG for their work, he'll take a look at the suggestions by the search firm, and then he'll make the final selection. In the end, you can bet he’ll get the person he wants.
Dictionary.com word of the day
geminate (adjective) [jem-uh-net, -neyt] combined or arranged in pairs; twin; coupled