The University of California Office of the President (UCOP) invites nominations and applications for the position of Senior Vice President of External Relations and Communications (“SVP”). This role reports to the President of the University of California, Janet Napolitano, and is a member of her senior leadership team. The SVP establishes a vision for external relations with state and federal sponsors, partners, and regulators, and provides UC-wide leadership in marketing, communications, and public affairs as well as in engaging key constituencies such as alumni.

UCOP ( supports campuses and students through system-wide funding and programs and in certain areas of policy and strategy. It manages the University’s multi-billion dollar operations and investments. It oversees medical centers and national labs. It provides centralized labor relations and legal services. And it promotes the well-being of its diverse and large workforce through benefits and retirement programs. UCOP coordinates activities that allow a complex and unique system to operate efficiently as one enterprise, furthering its public interest, academic and research missions. It oversees and manages programs that serve the entire University system, allowing campuses to capture the savings and efficiencies that come from centralized operations.

The SVP is responsible for developing, integrating and executing successful public relations, governmental relations and media relations strategies which support the research, education and public service missions of the University of California campuses, academic medical centers and national laboratorieThe SVP works with other senior University leaders to cultivate and strengthen relationships with state and federal government legislators, agencies, alumni, donors, campuses, Regents and other internal and external audiences.  The SVP also monitors issues and areas which affect higher educational institutions and oversees teams that monitor and advocate for state and federal legislative proposals which may impact the University.

The SVP is responsible for developing and implementing an integrated communications strategy across marketing communications, digital communications, executive communications, internal communications, and media relations. The SVP oversees the management of the system-wide UC brand and directs large-scale marketing campaigns to build public awareness of and support for UC’s value and its impact on the lives of people in California and beyond.

The SVP also establishes overall strategy for advocacy programs, creating and leveraging partnerships and collaboration opportunities on behalf of the University, involving faculty, researchers and other internal resources, as well as alumni and supporters of the University.  The SVP oversees the following UCOP units: Executive Communications, Marketing Communications, Digital Communications, Institutional Communications, Institutional Advancement, Alumni and Constituent Affairs, Strategic Communications, UC Health Communications and Media Relations, Legislative Analysis, Federal Governmental Relations and State Governmental Relations.

Successful candidates will bring 10+ years of experience in communications, media relations, public affairs or similar with a background in implementing earned, owned, and paid media strategies on behalf of large organizations or high-profile individuals. The SVP will have a firm understanding of the issues impacting higher education, research and health care in California and nationally, and knowledge of the state and federal political landscape and deep experience with the governmental affairs process. Candidates must bring an enthusiasm for challenges and a strong desire to ensure a high level of excellence in achieving the University’s legislative and communications priorities.  The University of California (UC) is a premier institution of higher education and is recognized nationally and internationally for excellence in teaching, research, and public service. The UC system includes more than 250,000 students, 200,000 faculty and staff, 60,000 retirees, and 1.7 million alumni living around the world. The University of California Office of the President is based in Oakland, California.

A full description of the SVP’s responsibilities can be found here:



UCOP has retained Opus Partners ( to support this recruitment. Craig Smith, Partner; Neeta Mehta, Principal; and Laura Jenks, Senior Associate, are leading the search. Applicants should submit a letter of interest and resume to Confidential inquiries, applications, and nominations should go to the same address.


The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the University of California’s complete nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy, please visit this website: