BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU Chancellor Mike Martin could be leaving his leadership position over Louisiana’s flagship university after being tapped Thursday as the lone finalist for a job overseeing the Colorado State University System.

In an email to staff and students, Martin said he will carefully consider the offer to be chancellor of the three-campus system.

“My single criteria for deciding what to do at this stage of my professional life is this: Where do I have the best chance of making a positive difference?” he said.

Colorado State University governing board members called Martin a visionary and proven leader who can build strong relationships with civic leaders, lawmakers and businessmen. Martin was recommended to the board by an 11-member committee after an eight-month search.

“I’m confident that the CSU System and broader state of Colorado will greatly benefit from Dr. Martin’s strong track record of successfully championing public higher education and building strong relationships among civic leaders, state and federal lawmakers, the business community and the general public,” Joseph Zimlich, chair of the CSU Board of Governors, said in a statement.

Martin now enters into discussions with the CSU board about possible terms of employment.

The current chancellor of the Colorado State University system, Joe Blake, is retiring from the position for which he was named in May 2009.

If Martin is on his way out, it would be LSU’s second high-profile departure within a month. The LSU Board of Supervisors fired university system President John Lombardi in April after criticism that he didn’t work well with campus leaders or state lawmakers.

Martin, 65, a former president of New Mexico State University, has a year remaining on his LSU contract. Since he was hired in 2008, he has been charged with leading a university that has faced repeated budget cuts in recent years — with more slashing on the horizon.

Martin’s base salary at LSU is $400,000 a year, but his contract included deferred payments that would increase his total compensation to $525,000 per year, if he stayed at LSU through 2013.

By Melinda Deslatte, AP Writer (© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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