Outgoing chair announces presidential search committee

This article has been updated since publication.

John B. Veihmeyer will succeed John J. Brennan as the chair of Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees in June 2024, the university announced on October 13. Brennan has been on the Board since 2009 and was elected chair in 2015. He will remain on the Board after his tenure ends. Veihmeyer is a 1977 Notre Dame graduate and has served on the Board since 2017. 

Both Veihmeyer and Brennan are currently fellows of the university—members of a “12-member body of lay people and priests from the Congregation of Holy Cross who elect the Trustees, adopt and amend the bylaws, and are specifically charged with maintaining Notre Dame’s Catholic character.”

Veihmeyer has extensive experience on the boards of various companies. Previously global chairman of KPMG International, Veihmeyer currently chairs the Board of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and Catholic Charities of Washington, D.C. He also serves on the board of Ford Motor Company. According to his KPMG biography, Veihmeyer has been named one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting by Accounting Today magazine and one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Corporate Governance by Directorship magazine.

Throughout his career in corporate governance, Veihmeyer has become notable for his commitment to “diversity and inclusion.” In a 2017 article, he stated, “Diversity in my view is actually an outcome of building a culture of inclusion in your organization.” He continued, “Inclusion and diversity are fundamental to our business strategy, and not something that’s ‘nice to have.’ Unless people in your organization think [that] you see building an inclusive culture that stimulates diversity as fundamental to both the organization’s and their success, it simply won’t be a priority.” 

In 2011, Veihmeyer was recognized for this commitment by Diversity Best Practices, “the leading source of insights for corporate DEI and talent teams.” He received the “CEO Diversity Leadership Award … for embedding a commitment to diversity and inclusion excellence throughout KPMG.” 

Veihmeyer has also been recognized by members of the LGBTQ community for his work in leadership roles. In 2012, on behalf of KPMG, he accepted the “Straight for Equality in the Workplace Award” from PFLAG National, “the nation’s largest organization dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them.”

According to their website, “Straight for Equality is a national outreach and education program created in 2007 by PFLAG National to empower new allies who don’t necessarily have a family connection to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community.”

Veihmeyer was also quoted in the March 2012 issue of Lesbian/Gay Law Notes journal. An article in this issue relays a statement from Veihmeyer regarding diversity at KPMG: “We are committed to a culture of inclusiveness and value the contributions of all of our people. Diversity is a business imperative. For our firm to continue to be a great place to work and build a career, we must be able to attract and retain the best people with the skills and determination to deliver above and beyond regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Until Veihmeyer becomes chair next summer, Brennan, the current chair, will retain the chair’s duties, and Veihmeyer will serve as vice chair.

Fr. Robert Dowd, C.S.C., a member of the Board of Trustees and a Fellow of the university, gave comment to the Rover on Brennan’s tenure: “Jack Brennan has been a superb Chair of the Board of Trustees. I have been inspired by his complete dedication to doing what is best for everyone who makes up the Notre Dame community and his commitment to the University’s Catholic mission. We can be truly grateful for Jack’s leadership.”

Fr. Dowd continued, “Notre Dame is blessed to have someone of John Veihmeyer’s character, experience, and commitment to succeed Jack Brennan as Chair. Like Jack, John is a person of integrity and great wisdom. He is dedicated to moving the University forward and he realizes the central importance of ensuring that our Catholic mission informs all that we do.”

Among its other responsibilities, one of the most important tasks on the Board’s schedule under Brennan is the selection of the next president of the university following the resignation of Fr. John Jenkins, C.S.C. The new president will take over the position at the end of the 2023–2024 academic year. 

According to an email from Brennan to all faculty of the university, the board will use a “Faculty Consultation Committee” to “inform its recommendation and the Board’s decision.” This is in accordance with the university bylaws, which state, The President of the University shall be elected by the Trustees from among the clerical members of the Congregation, after receiving recommendations made by the Governance and Nominating Committee of the Board. The Governance and Nominating Committee, before submitting any nominations to the Trustees, shall request a recommendation or recommendations for the office of President from the Provincial of the Congregation. The Governance and Nominating Committee may also receive recommendations from any other interested person or persons.” 

The current Provincial Superior, Fr. William M. Lies, C.S.C., was elected in 2018. Fr. Lies was previously vice president for mission engagement and church affairs at Notre Dame. He also served as executive director of the Center for Social Concerns from 2002 to 2012. 

Brennan named Nathan Hatch as the Chair of the Faculty Consultation Committee. Hatch currently serves on the Board of Trustees and is a member of the Board’s Governance and Nominating committee. Hatch previously served as Dean of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters from 1983 to 1988 and as provost of the university from 1996 to 2005. From 2005 to 2021, Hatch served as president of Wake Forest University. Hatch’s other past executive experience includes serving as chair of the NCAA Division I Board of Directors and Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. 

Brennan also listed eight members of the Faculty Consultation Committee, five of whom were elected by the Academic Council, with the remaining three appointed by Brennan. Those elected by the Academic Council are Patricia Champion of Biological Sciences, Rick Garnett of the Law School, Maria McKenna of Africana Studies and the Institute for Educational Initiatives, Laura Miller-Graff of the Keough School of Global Affairs and Psychology, and Eric Sims of Economics. 

The remaining three, appointed by Brennan, are Luis Fraga of Political Science and the Institute for Latino Studies, Glen Niebur of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, and Ann Tenbrunsel of Management and Organization.

According to one member of the Faculty Consultation Committee, the specifics of the process for electing the next president are confidential, with knowledge of its proceedings limited to committee members.

Michael Canady is a sophomore studying classics and constitutional studies. If you would like to support his campaign to be Fr. Jenkins’ successor, email him at mcanady2@nd.edu.

Photo Credit: Notre Dame News

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