Ex-ISU Foundation president received more than $400,000 severance

Board voted to remove him after new president said he wanted to build own team

March 31, 2014 | 6:44 pm

AMES — The former president of the Iowa State University Foundation received 18 months of severance pay, or more than $400,000, as part of an agreement to leave.

The move came as ISU’s new president was shaping his leadership team.

Dan Saftig resigned in March after nine years with the university’s primary fundraising arm. During his tenure, he brought in more than $1 billion in gifts to the foundation.

Lisa Eslinger, senior vice president of finance and operations of the foundation, said Saftig received 18 month of severance. She declined to release the exact amount, but the Ames Tribune reported Thursday that based on fiscal 2010-11 earnings of $275,000, Saftig received $414,000.

Marla Franklin, chairwoman of the foundation’s board of directors, said the settlement was funded through the foundation.

Franklin said the board voted to remove Saftig after they were approached by new ISU President Steven Leath, who took office in January.

“President Leath came to us and said that he was wanting to build his own team,” Franklin said. “And after the board and the executive committee had a lot of discussions, we said it’s very, very important that the president of the university and the president of the foundation are able to work very closely together.”

Board members and Leath haven’t provided specific reasons behind Saftig’s resignation. Saftig also has declined to comment.

Franklin said the foundation has formed a five-member search committee, which is currently working to select an executive search firm to handle the recruitment and hiring process.

She said the foundation is expected to spend about $100,000 on the search and hopes to select its new leader by December.

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