Introduced as a heavy hitter who will help Auburn University land a world-class president, John Kuhnle didn't sugarcoat the university's challenges when he addressed trustees.
Kuhnle is the AU trustees' top pick for guiding the search to replace AU Interim President Ed Richardson, who says he will step down by the end of 2006. Kuhnle has led more than 400 searches for top administrators, and his firm has netted leaders for major universities such as Johns Hopkins and Vanderbilt.
Kuhnle says a big part of the challenge for AU will be to convince top candidates the university isn't an institution mired in scandal and turmoil and shed the university's controversial image.
An independent accrediting placed the university on probation in 2003 citing major governance problems. Probation has since been lifted.
Trustees will vote Friday on whether to hire Kuhnle.