Nathan Stubbs

LITE is keeping us in the dark on CEO search

by Nathan Stubbs

Officials with Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise have not responded to repeated requests for information regarding the interview process for its next CEO. The Independent has sent three email inquiries, first to LITE Creative Director Marty Altman, then to Altman and fellow search committee members Bradd Clark, the dean of UL’s College of Sciences, and Mark Zappi, dean of UL’s College of Engineering. Clark also serves as chairman of LITE’s Board of Commissioners. Also on the search committee is LITE Commissioner Jim Prince and another unknown member that was appointed by the Lafayette Economic Development Authority.

Last week, Altman handed over resumés of all of the LITE CEO applicants in response to a public records request from The Independent. He did not return follow-up phone calls and e-mails asking about whether the committee had narrowed its search, how many and which candidates it is interviewing and what its timeline is for making a recommendation to the board. Clark and Zappi were copied on the last two emails. An assistant at Clark’s office noted he is currently on vacation and due back next week.

LITE began advertising nationwide for its CEO position at the beginning of the year. The search came on the heels of last November’s abrupt resignation of LITE Director Carolina Cruz. The INDsider reported last week that LITE received 64 applications for the CEO job, including a number of high-caliber candidates with a wide range of experience. Among the applicants: Dr. Anshuman Razdan, director of both the Image and 3D Data Exploitation and Analysis Lab and the Advanced Technology Innovation Center at Arizona State University; Elizabeth Holford, an attorney who has worked as an international business consultant; Micheal Cline, chief operating officer of Clinical Resource Network, LLC, in Illinois with both an MBA and a master’s in IT; and Mark Lewis, president of the Louisiana Technology Council in New Orleans.

Sources familiar with the process, who wish to remain anonymous, indicate that the search committee has already completed many, if not all of its interviews, and is preparing to make a recommendation at the next Board of Commissioners meeting on June 24. Speculation is rampant that LITE Interim CEO Henry Florsheim, who is said to be among the finalists, may have an inside track for the job. LITE's board has been vocal about attempts to strengthen its economic development mission (approximately 85 percent of LITE's budget still comes from UL). Florsheim joined LITE in January 2008 as chief operating officer. Prior to that, he served for two years as vice president of LEDA. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Northeast Louisiana University and is currently pursuing an MBA at UL.