After a 15-month search that dragged well beyond the expected length, Yale has filled one its highest administrative posts.

President Richard Levin appointed Robert L. Culver as vice president of finance and administration in June, several months after Culver was first offered the position.

Culver replaced Joseph Mullinix, who departed Yale last year for a top position in the University of California system.

Culver, who has experience in union relations and hospital operations, assumed the broad responsibilities of his new position in July.

He is now one of seven University officers and manages financial operations, investments, debt management, facilities, human resources, labor relations, student administrative services and information technology.

Culver most recently served as vice president and chief financial officer of Cabot Corporation, a specialty chemicals company. From 1990 to 1997, he was vice president and treasurer of Northeastern University in Boston where he had many of the same responsibilities he now has at Yale.

“It feels very good to be back in higher education,” Culver said. “As soon as I got here, I felt like I was back in the saddle. I think I can really add value here.”

Prior to that, Culver was a member of the finance and management consulting firm Coopers & Lybrand where he worked with Yale Medical School and Yale-New Haven Hospital, among other clients.

In the early 1990s, Culver served on the Boston School Committee, assisting in budget balancing efforts and facilitating union negotiations.

He received a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1971 and a master’s from the London School of Economics in 1972. He also earned an master’s in public administration from Harvard University in 1978.

Associate Vice President for Facilities Kemel Dawkins had been serving as acting vice president until Culver’s arrival. He has returned to his facilities post.