Kenneth Barker has been confirmed by Thames Valley University as one of three names in the frame for perhaps one of the toughest jobs in higher education - vice-chancellor of Britain's first "failing" university.
After a successful tenure stewarding De Montfort, which has been dubbed the fastest growing university in Western Europe, Barker announced last year that he would retire from higher education this month. But amid top secret negotiations, it appears he has been persuaded to stay in academe. If so, the task ahead of him is great. But he has a lot of experience. In the 1980s, De Montfort, then Leicester Polytechnic, was described as "technically insolvent".
It is now one of Britain'sbiggest universities.
with four campuses, a turnover of more than Pounds 100 million, and more than 30,000 students.