Sir David will take over at the beginning of September from the current chair, Sir David Eastwood, the University of Birmingham vice-chancellor, who has served three years in post at the mission group.
The Russell Group describes itself as representing 24 “leading UK universities which are committed to maintaining the very best research, an outstanding teaching and learning experience and unrivalled links with business and the public sector”.
Sir David Greenaway said: “Russell Group universities are world-class institutions – educating more than half a million students and carrying out ground-breaking research. It is vital the UK recognises the importance and value of leading universities and creates an environment that enables them to thrive. I look forward to helping Russell Group universities continue to succeed on the global stage.”
The economist has provided advice to a range of government departments including a report on uninsured driving in the UK for the last Labour government and a national review of the training and professional development of doctors in the UK. He is also a former chair of the Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body.
Wendy Piatt, the Russell Group director-general, said that the Nottingham vice-chancellor’s “experience, not only as vice-chancellor of a world-class university but also as key adviser to government on a range of high-level issues including the training of doctors in the UK, and remuneration of the armed services, makes him an ideal choice for chair”.
She added: “I have greatly enjoyed working with Professor Sir David Eastwood, and I would like to thank him – as I know would all the other vice-chancellors – for the important contribution he has made as chair.”