Vice President, Human Resources

The University of California (UC) seeks a visionary, collaborative, inclusive, and service-oriented HR executive to serve as its next vice president for human resources (VPHR).

The University of California is recognized nationally and internationally for excellence in education, technology, research and public service. The UC system enrolls more than 285,000 students, and employs over 230,000 faculty and staff. The annual operating budget for the enterprise is over $41 billion. The University consists of ten campuses, six academic health centers and 12 hospitals, one national laboratory directly managed and two under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy, statewide agricultural and natural resources programs, various off-site education and research activities and the Office of the President (UCOP) – the central administrative organization for the University.

Reporting directly to the executive vice president and chief operating officer, the incoming vice president for human resources serves as the enterprise leader and visionary strategist for the University of California system, the state’s third largest employer. The VPHR manages a team of over 190 staff and an annual operating budget of $50 million and is responsible for advancing best practice human resources strategies, systems and processes in support of the human capital goals and objectives across the entire UC system. The VPHR serves as a member of the executive vice president and chief operating officer’s executive management team and provides human resources counsel, advice and expertise to the Board of Regents, President of the University, Office of the President, local campuses, health centers and other affiliated UC departments and divisions. The VPHR is expected to develop, motivate and inspire a strong team of highly skilled HR professionals; develop a shared vision for the future of UC’s HR function; implement strategies for improving systems, processes and service (including enhanced HR technology) as recommended by a recent Systemwide HR task force; champion diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives both at the system and local levels; and collaboratively engage with and provide a high level of service and support to all constituents and HR partners across the UC system.

The incoming vice president for human resources will bring 10+ years of demonstrated executive leadership skills with a background of management and leadership responsibilities over a comprehensive HR team, or comparable experience leading in a multi-faceted, complex organizational environment with both central and decentralized operations. The next VPHR should be highly collaborative with an appreciation for shared governance. The VPHR should have an entrepreneurial frame of mind and be open to new and progressive HR practices, and have a passion for and commitment to public higher education in California. The VPHR should possess a high degree of political acumen, excellent verbal and written communication skills and model ethical and transparent behavior. Exposure to and experience within a labor relations environment is preferred. This position is based in Oakland, CA. For more information, please visit

All applications, nominations and inquiries are invited. Applications should include, as separate documents, a CV or resume and a letter of interest addressing the themes in the leadership profile, including describing your experience promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.

WittKieffer is assisting University of California in this search. For fullest consideration, application materials should be received by May 11, 2021.

Application materials should be submitted using WittKieffer’s candidate portal.

Nominations and inquiries can be directed to:
Zachary A. Smith, Ph.D., John K. Thornburgh and Alejandra Gillette-Teran

Institutional EEO statement

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer (pdf). All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status.

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