Campus News Campus Spotlight

UGA Search Group director empowers teammates to grow the UGA community

Michael Luthi is director of the UGA Search Group, the university’s internal executive search firm. (Photo by Peter Frey/UGA)

Michael Luthi appreciates his team and the university

Michael Luthi is motivated by appreciation for his team and the university.

As director of the UGA Search Group, the university’s internal executive search firm, Luthi values his role as both a leader and a teammate. He helps ensure candidates, hiring authorities and search committee members have an outstanding experience while vetting top talent to join the university community.

For Luthi, family and the University of Georgia have always been intertwined. As an Athens native and a UGA alumnus, he has attended football games and other events on campus throughout his life.

“UGA is a part of who I am and who my family is,” he said. “I have always bled red and black.”

After graduating from UGA with a bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences in 2005, Luthi leveraged his people skills to pursue a career in recruiting. He worked in the private sector in Atlanta for three years where he helped fill positions in IT, finance, and health care and learned the importance of adaptability, transparency and genuine connections.

In 2008, Luthi returned to Athens to join the UGA Search Group as a senior executive recruiter. “It was a real homecoming moment,” he said. He served in that role for 10 years before becoming director in 2018.

The UGA Search Group is a specialized unit within University Human Resources that serves the university at large for executive-level recruitment and senior search facilitation. The group’s work often draws external attention, so every team member is committed to maintaining a high bar of excellence in service and professionalism.

“We have an incredible sense of family in our group,” Luthi said. “Our work is typically high-touch and extremely visible and engaged, so every person on our team is able to connect with anyone they might meet.”

By empowering his team, Luthi can maintain a “view at 30,000 feet,” keeping a finger on the pulse of the university’s current and upcoming needs and strategically planning for the future.

“It’s important to stay involved and continue to foster relationships with intentionality while also establishing a sense of what’s coming next,” he said.

Regarding his daily routine, Luthi says there isn’t one. His days vary widely, depending on where the team is with various searches throughout the year. Any day might include coordinating with IT colleagues to set up hybrid interviews, leading meetings with hiring committees to help assess their needs for a new role or making phone calls to potential candidates to answer their questions. Although his schedule looks different each day, every task is rooted in a sense of service to the university.

“Our mission is to serve the University of Georgia as the premier higher education search group, delivering stronger candidate pools and a more seamless process than any other executive search firm in the world,” Luthi said. “Beyond just a love for the institution, I am continuously energized in my work because I have the opportunity to work with the very best people. UGA has the finest faculty, staff and leaders of any university, anywhere in the world.”