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Chief Financial Officer

Apply now Job no: 497168
Work type: Regular
Location: Calabasas Campus
Categories: Finance

Pepperdine University seeks an experienced financial leader to serve as its next chief financial officer (CFO).

Pepperdine University is a Christian university committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values, where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service and leadership. The University enrolls nearly 8,000 full-time and part-time students in its five colleges and schools, and serves its student population on the main Malibu, California campus, seven graduate campuses across Southern California and in Washington DC, and six international campuses across the world. The University has a $500 million gross operating budget, assets totaling approximately $1.7 billion, and net assets of $1.3 billion.

The CFO should have a passion for higher education, and for Pepperdine and its mission. The CFO is expected to make a personal and departmental commitment to professional excellence, focusing on mission, trust, interpersonal skills, team building, and relationships. The CFO must find fulfillment in supporting and enabling strategic initiatives on the academic and business sides of the institution. Finally, the CFO must lead using best practices built upon adherence to the highest ethical standards and consistent with the precepts and virtues celebrated in the Christian tradition. This is key in all aspects of job performance, University interactions, and outside communications on behalf of the University.

Reporting directly to the executive vice president, the CFO will oversee, enhance, and report on the institution’s financial management in support of the University’s strategic plans. This includes priority-focused resource allocation and budgeting, financial analysis and strategy, debt management, cash flow optimization, audit management, and financial information systems and modeling. The CFO is also expected to make recommendations and projections regarding cash and liquidity management, capital planning, procurement and purchasing, bond and other treasury issues, and external audit. As well, the CFO will serve as the liaison for University banking relationships, rating agency interactions, and (collectively with the chief administrative officer) the Board of Regents Finance and Administration Committee.

These responsibilities require the CFO to develop a broad understanding of University business and goals, and to develop collaborative partnerships of goodwill with senior administration, deans, and other University stakeholders in pursuit of strategic decision-making and sound resource allocation. Creative problem solving and collaboration will be key in the CFO’s responsibility to assist academic leaders in achieving short-term and long-term academic goals through financial stability and sustainability. The CFO must be able to handle complex financial issues and transactions and also competently communicate financial information to non-financial audiences.

Additionally, the CFO must manage and lead a high-performing department of approximately 40 employees, covering the spectrum of financial responsibilities including the controller’s office, accounts payable, purchasing, the University cashier, payroll, general accounting, campus commerce, and financial planning. The CFO is expected to foster a departmental culture exemplifying distinguished customer service, accountability, and accuracy.


  • Minimum of a Bachelor's degree in Accounting, Finance, Business, or related field required.
  • Higher education experience desirable but not required.
  • Progressively responsible accounting or financial management experience, with demonstrated proficiency for financial analysis, cash flow management, and financial modeling.
  • Successful problem analysis and resolution skills.
  • Strong working knowledge of related State and Federal compliance regulations and related policies and procedures.
  • Strategic thinking and long-term planning ability.


  • A self-starter with a strong work ethic and the ability to prioritize and adapt to changing circumstances in an entrepreneurial environment.
  • Exceptional presentation skills, including the poise to deal effectively with board members, senior level executives, government officials, investment communities, colleagues, and others.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, including listening, and the ability to communicate effectively verbally and in writing.
  • A high level of energy, self-confidence, a positive 'can-do' attitude, and the ability to function in a fast-paced and high-expectation environment.
  • A consensus-building leadership style seeking and valuing input from others.
  • Unimpeachable integrity, exceptional judgment, fairness, and trustworthiness.


  • Apply a disciplined and collaborative approach to analyzing Pepperdine’s existing assets to ensure that they are sustainable and aligned with Pepperdine’s mission.
  • Establish credibility as an effective problem solver and mentor on financial issues.
  • Oversee and direct key financial operations including funding, planning and budget, taxation, accounting, forecasting, investments, borrowing, and bonding.
  • Analyze operational issues affecting the institution and determine their financial impact.
  • Direct and analyze studies of general economic, business and financial conditions and their impact on the organization’s policies and operations.
  • Collaborate with University stakeholders to develop and implement the University’s annual operating budget.
  • Assist in the development of key metrics and best practices to measure organizational performance, as well as related reporting and analysis. Collaborate with the undergraduate and graduate schools to develop performance and budgetary metrics.
  • Develop timely and accurate analysis of budgets, and financial reports, that will assist the president, executive vice president, provost, Board of Regents and other senior leadership in fulfilling their responsibilities.
  • Provide advice and counsel to the president, executive vice president, and Board of Regents regarding future indebtedness, debt capacity, disposition of assets, liability management, financial policies, strategic, capital, and financial forecasting, and other decision-making issues.
  • Collaborate with the chief investments officer and his/her staff to maintain optimal financial efficiency, health, and positioning.
  • Ensure compliance with applicable regulations affecting the University's operations, including post-issuance compliance with tax-exempt bond requirements.
  • Construct and monitor reliable systems of internal control, ensure recordkeeping in compliance with internal and regulatory rules, and understand and mitigate key elements of the University’s risk profile.
  • Analyze, consolidate, and direct all cost accounting procedures together with other statistical and routine reports.
  • Direct the development and establishment of accounting policies and procedures relating to the organization's financial planning, budgeting, and reporting. Control and ensure compliance with generally accepted accounting principles, federal regulations, and audit requirements.
  • Utilize finance and accounting software for revenue metrics analysis and provide indicators having the greatest impact on revenue and expenses. Responsible for the selection, implementation, and deployment of any finance and accounting system enhancements.
  • Oversee a broad array of cash and financial management services, including managing external bank and custodial accounts for the University and all subsidiaries. Manage banking relationships and the University's cash including payments of liabilities, deposits of funds, and investing. Prepare and maintain ongoing cash flow projections incorporating all operating, capital, and strategic initiatives.
  • Serve as Co-chairperson of the University retirement plan committee, tasked with regulatory compliance and fiduciary oversight of University employee retirement assets.
  • Other projects and duties as assigned.

Pepperdine is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any status or condition protected by applicable federal, state, or local law. Pepperdine is committed to providing a work environment free from all forms of harassment and discrimination. Engaging in unlawful discrimination or harassment will result in appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the University.

Pepperdine is religiously affiliated with the Churches of Christ. It is the purpose of Pepperdine to pursue the very highest employment and academic standards within a context which celebrates and extends the spiritual and ethical ideals of the Christian faith. While students, faculty, staff, and members of the Board of Regents represent many religious backgrounds, Pepperdine reserves the right to seek, hire and promote persons who support the goals and mission of the institution, including the right to prefer co-religionists.

This is a regular, exempt position, and salary is commensurate with experience. It is the intent of the University to create and promote a diverse workforce consistent with its stated goals and mission. Offers of employment are contingent upon successful completion of a criminal, education, and employment background investigation, after the job offer is made.

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