After a six-month search, the University announced Friday that Rafi Taherian, currently executive director of Stanford University dining, will become executive director of Yale University Dining Services in March.

Taherian will take the reigns from outgoing executive director Don McQuarrie, whose contract expires at the end of February. McQuarrie — who has served as director for over five years — ran Yale’s dining system while it was still managed by Aramark, a Philadelphia-based food-services conglomerate. The University will end its 9-year relationship with Aramark at the end of February and will complete the transition to operating YUDS in-house.

McQuarrie’s term was has been extended through February under a transitional contract with Aramark pending the installation of a replacement.

Taherian’s experience weighed heavily in the decision to hire him, Associate Vice President for Administrative and Financial Services Ernst Huff said.

“We did a lot of reference checking on him and the references were all superlative,” Huff said.

McQuarrie, who served as the top Aramark executive on Yale’s campus, will presumably move on to another Aramark location, Huff said.

McQuarrie could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The University worked with the Philadelphia search firm Opus Partners to develop a list of 13 candidates for the job. By early October, the number of candidates had fallen to six and, three weeks later, only three remained in the field. The three candidates visited New Haven in November to speak with students, faculty and staff.

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., Taherian joined Stanford’s staff in 1996 as a senior chef manager. After a five-year stint as associate director of residential dining, Taherian became Stanford’s dining director on an acting basis and formally took over in 2004.

Taherian did not return calls for comment Tuesday.