Former Nestlé USA president and COO to lead California university

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Claremont Graduate University announces Robert Schult as interim president

Robert Schult, interim president at Claremont Graduate University

Robert Schult, interim president at Claremont Graduate University

I have a very hands-on, team-oriented approach, and I am excited to take the helm at this pivotal moment in CGU's history.

Claremont Graduate University (CGU), the oldest graduate-only university in the United States, has named former Nestlé USA President and Chief Operating Officer Robert (Bob) Schult as interim president. Schult will step in for current President Deborah Freund, who announced in December she would not seek a second term.

He takes office on July 1 and will work closely with Freund and other administrators over the next three months to ensure a smooth transition.

Schult will bring a distinct business sense to an already established academic leadership team. As former president and chief operating officer of Nestlé USA, and a co-founder and former managing director at VMG Equity Partners, he has held key positions managing more than 50 leading consumer brands and $8 billion in sales across diverse product segments.

Schult has served on Claremont Graduate University’s Board of Trustees since 2011. In addition to Claremont Graduate University, he has served on several other boards, including The Times Mirror Company and UCLA's Anderson School of Business.

“Bob knows CGU well. Since late fall of 2013 he has supported Jacob Adams, executive vice president and provost, in overseeing the university’s internal operations, building a dedicated and effective management team, and developing a strategic plan to position CGU for long-term success," said Michael Rossi, chairman of CGU’s Board of Trustees. “We are fully confident that Bob is capable of ensuring the university’s financial sustainability and furthering its commitment to academic excellence.”

The CGU Board of Trustees voted to approve Schult as president at its quarterly meeting in March.

“My day-to-day involvement over the past 16 months as chair of the Business and Finance Committee has given me an extraordinary opportunity to become acquainted not only with Jacob Adams and the executive management team, but also with the intricacies and challenges of the university," Schult said. “I have a very hands-on, team-oriented approach, and I am excited to take the helm at this pivotal moment in CGU’s history.”

Because Schult is already familiar with the university’s operations from his work as a trustee, his appointment as president allows CGU to not only stay the course on its current strategic plan, but to accelerate its progress.

“Bob’s skills are exactly suited to our challenge,” Adams said. “The management team and I have utmost respect for him, and we are confident that he will provide excellent and seamless leadership for the university.”

That support extends to faculty leadership, too.

“Working closely with Bob for more than a year has assured me that our academic mission and the dedication to the faculty that guide it will be met in this appointment,” said David Pagel, professor and chair of the faculty. “Bob has demonstrated a commitment to candor and to meeting challenges head-on, while proving tremendous respect for faculty, students, and staff.”

The Board of Trustees will issue the timetable and approach on the recruitment of a permanent president in the near future.

About Claremont Graduate University
Founded in 1925, Claremont Graduate University is the graduate university of the Claremont Colleges. Its five academic schools conduct leading-edge research and award masters and doctoral degrees in 24 disciplines. Because the world’s problems are not simple nor easily defined, diverse faculty and students research and study across the traditional discipline boundaries to create new and practical solutions for the major problems affecting the world. A Southern California-based graduate school devoted entirely to graduate research and study, CGU boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio.

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