Associate Vice President and Chief Risk Officer

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Feb 23, 2017
Executive Administration Jobs
Vice Presidents
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Carnegie Mellon (CMU) is a private, global research university, internationally renowned in fields such as artificial intelligence, the performing arts, brain science, technology-enhanced learning, cybersecurity, design, robotics, and big data, is searching for its next Associate Vice President and Chief Risk Officer. CMU challenges the curious and passionate to deliver work that matters. CMU scholars stand tall among Nobel Laureates, Turing Award winners, national academy members and other global leaders in research and creativity. By focusing on the challenges facing society, CMU students and faculty collaborate across disciplines, sometimes developing entire new fields of study. For more information on CMU, visit

The Opportunity

In July 2016, Carnegie Mellon appointed Dr. Rodney P. McClendon to the newly created role of Vice President for Operations, and he has since undertaken a number of substantive initiatives and projects. As a result, the need for a Chief Risk Officer was identified to evaluate, address and coordinate all efforts across the university around risk and exposure, and to consolidate these efforts in one centralized department.

Reporting directly to the Vice President for Operations, the Associate Vice President and Chief Risk Officer (CRO) will have a full appreciation and well-rounded knowledge of Enterprise Risk Management issues affecting institutions of higher education, including emergency response and management, crisis response and management, operational risk, laboratory and research risk, technology and cyber risks and mitigation, business continuity, disaster recovery, insurance management and facility/environmental vulnerability, and threat assessment. The breadth of issues that are directly and indirectly connected to these areas of oversight are of critical importance for the success of CMU’s central administrative functions, and for the university’s academic goals and research mission.

In a research institution environment, where conditions for risk constantly evolve and unfamiliar situations continually emerge, this individual will help create a common understanding of risk and risk management campus-wide. The CRO will be charged with evaluating the functionality of the existing and discrete risk management organizations across CMU, and will have the opportunity to realign the Risk Management function at CMU to lead a cohesive unit with a comprehensive budget. This leader will identify and address gaps in the organization, and will have the ability and foresight to measure, monitor, control and report on risk exposures, including educating the community and campus stakeholders in leading the university’s response.

A major part of CMU’s success and history has been the university’s commitment to an ethos within the institution of close partnerships between the central administration (President, Provost, Vice Presidents and Vice Provosts) and the key academic leadership provided by the Deans and Department Heads in the various colleges and schools of the university. The new Associate Vice President will benefit from strong leadership throughout the divisions and within the Operations Group, and will be expected to grow and nurture management talent for those under her/his charge. It is expected that the ideal candidate will have a strong team ethos, cultivating and rewarding smart, collaborative solutions to complex institutional issues spanning the functions under their oversight.

Key Responsibilities

The Associate Vice President and Chief Risk Officer will lead the evolution of CMU’s Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) framework through the development and deployment of risk management tools and practices, as well as governance processes. This role will be instrumental in creating and leading a cross-functional risk working group to provide risk intelligence to executive leadership and inform strategic decision-making, and will coordinate where necessary with the Office of General Counsel and the Dean of Students, among other groups. The CRO will act as an advisor to risk champions to create and execute strategies to optimize CMU’s risk positions.

  • Develop and deploy the core ERM toolset including risk identification, assessment, prioritization, mitigation, monitoring, reporting templates and communication tools;
  • Work with risk owners to complete periodic risk analysis and develop risk documentation and reporting, including for regulatory requirements that the university is subject to;
  • Assess and implement effective business continuity and disaster recovery measures across CMU;
  • Lead projects to develop and execute risk optimization strategies for key strategic initiatives;
  • Partner with education leaders to provide periodic risk education;
  • Enhance Emergency Response Procedures, including broad-based training and designation of responsibilities and improved emergency protocols;

Candidate Profile

The Associate Vice President and Chief Risk Officer will be an experienced leader with a significant track record of successful, progressive, and applicable experience in the leadership of risk management, with an understanding of the issues affecting higher education institutions. This leader will have a strong understanding of the principles of the institution, a progressive outlook towards best practices, and a comprehensive vision for the intersection of risk management and compliance across the university.

The CRO will be a decisive, results-oriented leader with a strong background of success in risk management and compliance, overseeing Enterprise Risk Management across CMU’s multiple campuses and evolving aspirations. Flexible in adjusting to emerging needs or shifting priorities, s/he will be an excellent motivator able to inspire a shared vision, quality performance and strong morale. The CRO will also demonstrate the ability to build, nurture and retain a strong team of professionals that is focused on excellence, accountability and efficiency.

Speaking knowledgably and with confidence, the CRO will demonstrate professional maturity through an ability to earn the respect of leadership, faculty, administration, staff, students, federal agencies, external partners, and the greater CMU community. In addition, the ideal candidate should be dedicated to the safety and well-being of all employees and students and the overall strength of the university. A Bachelor’s degree is required with an advanced degree or equivalent experience preferred.

The ideal candidate will have the following personal competencies and characteristics:

  • Strategic and Entrepreneurial Leader
  • Relationship Builder and Collaborator
  • Expertise in Risk Management and Compliance
  • Persuasive and Influential Communicator


Carnegie Mellon has exclusively retained Koya Leadership Partners for this search. This search is being led by Michelle Bonoan and Medelene Beasley. To express your interest in this role, please submit your materials through Koya’s online link here or e-mail Michelle and Medelene at the following:

Michelle R.S. Bonoan                                               
Managing Director                                                    
[email protected]

Medelene Beasley
[email protected]

Carnegie Mellon is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer committed to excellence through diversity and strongly encourages applications from women, minorities, and other under-represented groups. CMU is responsive to the needs of dual career couples and is dedicated to work-life balance through an array of family-friendly policies.

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