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Central Michigan University departing president in line for $1.2M in payments

Bob Davies headshots
Bob Davies is the president at Central Michigan University. The Board of Trustees approved a new contract with Davies.
  • Outgoing CMU President Bob Davies will get $468,735 next year advising his successor
  • He’s also receiving more than $500,000 in the next two years in deferred compensation
  • Davies will receive his full salary this year even if the university selects a new president before the end of the year

Central Michigan University President Bob Davies negotiated a contract shortly before announcing his resignation last week that will pay him at least another than $1.2 million over the next two-plus years. 

Davies, who has served as president for 5 ½ years, announced he is leaving at year’s end, citing “personal and professional reasons.”


An amended contract, signed last month and approved by CMU’s board Tuesday, calls for him to receive several other payments atop his $450,000 salary this year, including:

  • $356,000 in deferred compensation this year
  • $468,735 in pay next year as a professor emeritus to provide advice to his successor, a post that doesn’t require him to be in Mount Pleasant 
  • $194,000 in deferred compensation next year
  • $234,377 per year starting in 2026 as a professor, teaching two graduate business and education classes per year

Davies also will receive his full $450,000 salary this year if another president is selected, along with $20,000 in moving expenses.


Board members approved the amended deal unanimously at the end of the meeting, but did not comment on the contract.

Davies said it was his decision to come to the board about resigning, and that he had discussions with board members between Christmas and New Year’s. He did not share his plans after leaving CMU.

“I’ve got 11 months and my focus is very simple: this university,” Davies said after the meeting Tuesday. 

He said he is focused on implementing the university’s strategic plan, growing enrollment, creating a culture of philanthropy to support university efforts and increasing the university’s “academic rigor and reputation.”

Davies led the university through the pandemic and through some difficult years that saw significant enrollment declines. 

Lower enrollment in a state with declining birth rates forced CMU over the last decade to close dorms and revamp its recruiting practices. Davies acknowledged enrollment challenges and said Tuesday he will advise his successor to focus on students.

His payout follows those of peers at several Michigan universities with leadership changes in the last few years. 


The Detroit News reported in 2022 that the University of Michigan agreed to pay fired president Mark Schlissel $463,000 to take a one-year leave for the school before being allowed to return to faculty. MLive reported Schlissel was required to apologize for his actions in order to receive additional benefits worth more than $1 million. 

Former Michigan State University President Samuel Stanley Jr. announced his resignation in fall 2022 citing he had lost confidence in the university board.

 A provision in his contract would have allowed him to return as a faculty member with a $400,000 salary, but a university spokesperson said at the time Stanley would not be joining the faculty.

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