Robert F. Moran, retired chairman and chief executive officer of PetSmart, Inc., and Thomas A. Wagner, III, founding partner and managing member of Knighthead Capital Management, have been appointed as new members of the Board of Trustees as of Jan. 1.
The Board of Trustees deliberates on the University’s future and Villanova as a whole.
“The Board looks at the University not on a day-to-day basis, but they look at it from kind of a up in-the-sky way, looking down on the University,” University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A, said. “They’re looking at the big questions, not little managerial things.”
In electing Moran and Wagner, the board considered the apprentices’ professional and personal expertise and holds a strong connection with the University.
Moran, 1972 Villanova School of Business graduate, retired from his position as chairman and chief executive officer of PetSmart, Inc., in 2013.
His prior professional background includes 20 years with Sears, Roebuck and Company in several different financial and merchandising positions.
He was also chief financial officer and executive vice president of Galerias Preciados of Madrid, Spain.
With Moran’s most recent position consisting of running the largest company of pet food and supplies in the United States, as well as his contributions to the University, Donohue recognized him as an ideal candidate.
“He was coming from a business that was very different,” Donohue said. “He’s somebody that was dealing with operational things rather than financial matters.”
His enthusiasm captured the Board’s attention.
“When I asked him if he wanted to serve on the board, he was so enthused,” Donohue said.
Wegner’s young outlook was what attracted Donohue’s eye. A 1992 Villanova School of Business graduate, Wegner is younger then other Board members.
“His age definitely had something to do with him getting elected,” Donohue said. “He’s giving us a younger perspective on things.”
With a background in finance, as co-founding partner and managing member of Knighthead Capital Management LLC, former managing at Goldman Sachs, co-manager of Capital Structure Franchise Trading desk, and a high yield trader and prominent special situations research analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston, Wegner has a great deal of expertise do offer the board.
Along with his professional expertise, Wegner holds a strong connection with the University.
“Tom has been very involved to many committees here on campus—he was very involved with the business school,” Donohue said. “He was also very involved with President’s leadership circle—a kind of an advisory board.”
According to Donohue, Wegner was shocked and extremely pleased.
“Tom was just blown away from it when I told him,” Donohue said.
The Board seeks to have variety of different perspectives that contribute tremendously to full examination of an opportunity or problem.
“The board is a group of people, and they are so different from each other,” Donohue said. “Their personalities are different and the way they approach things is different, and I think the differences in their personalities makes the meetings interesting.”
For considering appointments to the board, Donohue considers the contributions each members have made since graduating.
He looks at how connected members have been to the institution and, even moreso, how much they care for it.
“Some members have more financial means than others but some of them are on the board because they have a certain background that they can contribute to the board but each of them is expected to give something,” Donohue said. “Their relationship to the University is also important.”
Some members may not have a relationship with the institution, but they have a story interest in the University.
“There are a certain set of people that don’t have a relationship with the university but they care about the institution—they show a particular interest in it,” Donohue said. “They’re friends of the University.”
Currently the Board of Trustees has eight women and 26 men, all from different educational and demographic backgrounds.
Engineers, physicians, managers of nutritional companies, nursing professors, clinical psychologist and lawyers are just some of the occupations of Board members—representing Donohue’s mission for diversity within the University representatives.