Nova Scotia

Cape Breton University moves forward in search for new president

Cape Breton University's board of governors is forming a search committee to find a replacement for former president David Wheeler who was dismissed in December.

An executive search firm will be hired by June, says board of governors chair

Cape Breton University hopes to find a new president in the next nine months. (George Mortimer/CBC)

Cape Breton University is moving forward in its search to find a new president. 

Ambrose White, chair of the university's board of governors, said Monday he's concerned about "angst" in the university and the wider community following the dismissal of former president David Wheeler in December.

A search committee will be formed by the end of April, he said.

The committee will be developing a profile for a candidate "to lead us in the next five, 10 years." 

Search firm to be in place by June

The board has said little about its reasons for dismissing Wheeler.

It referred only to strained working relationships within CBU and problems reaching a contract with unionized faculty.

Ambrose White is the chair of the board of governors at Cape Breton University. (George Mortimer/CBC)

The committee will hire a search firm by June, White said.

"Then we'll reach out to community, stakeholders within the university and outside, to develop a profile for that president. Ads will be issued in newspapers and magazines, then we'll start selecting candidates to be interviewed," he said.

Good communication skills key

A key asset for the candidate would be good communication skills needed to work within the university and other post-secondary institutions as well as all levels of government and the community, White said.

The salary of the new president will be negotiated, he said.

Wheeler's salary was $262,000 per year. The details of his severance package were not disclosed.

Student oriented president

Student union president Roy Karam says a new university president should be 100 per cent student oriented.

Roy Karam is the president of the student union at Cape Breton University (George Mortimer/CBC)

"Every decision that comes across the table needs to be with the students at heart. We need a president who's focused on international students and aboriginal students as well," he said. 

Karam said the student union will host a series of focus groups on the selection process.


George Mortimer is a longtime reporter in Cape Breton.