The search for Texas A&M University’s next president shifted into high gear today after Chancellor John Sharp signed a contract with one of the top executive search firms in the nation.

“Finding new leadership for Texas A&M University is my top priority,” Sharp said. “Texas A&M is an exceptional place. Texas A&M demands exceptional leadership.”

Texas A&M’s next president needs to have more than just superb academic credentials. “Texas A&M needs someone who understands the importance of maintaining the unique culture and traditions that make Aggies so successful after earning their degrees,” Sharp said.

To accomplish this, Sharp hired Isaacson, Miller, the largest higher education executive search firm in the nation. “Isaacson, Miller has an outstanding reputation for finding leadership at large and prestigious universities,” Sharp said. “They also excel at attracting candidates from outside the Ivory Tower, from industry, the military, the financial world and from government.”

Isaacson, Miller has appointed John Isaacson, chair of the Board, and David Bellshaw, partner, to lead this search. Bellshaw is the leader of the firm’s higher education practice.

Texas A&M’s 17-member presidential search committee will now meet with Isaacson, Miller and begin extensive conversations with key leaders of the university. The 17-member presidential search committee will also hold forums — open to faculty, staff and students — to allow Isaacson, Miller the opportunity to hear from the campus community as they begin their search. Once the position has been thoroughly defined, Isaacson, Miller will spend several weeks identifying and cultivating suitable candidates before bringing them before the committee for consideration.

Sharp said his plan is to have a new president hired before President Michael K. Young steps down. Young will retire as president on May 31, 2021 and return to teaching at Texas A&M University. He also plans to lead the new Institute for Religious Liberties and International Affairs at the Bush School of Government and Public Service.