Personality gave Aoun edge in 8-month process

Personality gave Aoun edge in 8-month process

It hasn’t taken long for Neal Finnegan, chairman of Northeastern’s Board of Trustees, to warm up to the president-elect.

“He has a kindness about him,” said Finnegan, who announced the appointment of Joseph Aoun as the seventh president of Northeastern on Wednesday.

Finnegan described Aoun as “a good listener” and “easy to talk to,” adding that it was the “magnetism” of his personality that stood out among other finalists.

The announcement concludes an eight-month search to find a successor for Northeastern President Richard Freeland, who plans to step down Aug. 15 after 10 years in the position.

Following his decision last August, the board of trustees established a search committee comprised of members of the Northeastern community.

Members of the committee by October, many of whom never met each other, began to meet each week, “partially to get down to business, but also to build trust with one another,” said Vincent Lembo, vice president and university counsel who helped select the committee.

Two months later, the search team announced it had hired Barbara Taylor, a senior consultant with the Academic Search Consultation Service in Washington, D.C., who had worked in the realm of presidential searches for the past 10 years, to join the process.

Taylor met with a number of the university’s student leaders to hear their concerns.

The committee also held a pair of open forums that, despite low turnout, provided an opportunity for the committee to consider the input of the student body.

By January, the Presidential Search Committee had moved into a more confidential phase as it began to sort through hundreds of resume

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