The vice-chancellor of Aberystwyth University, April McMahon, has announced that she is to step down next year.
Professor McMahon, who said it was the “right time for someone else to come in”, will leave at the end of her five-year term in July.
She had faced widespread criticism from staff and students during much of her tenure, as the institution tumbled down the league tables and faced difficulties in recruiting.
Last year, a petition calling for Professor McMahon to resign attracted more than 1,000 signatures, and the University and College Union complained in 2013 that the institution was being run like a “dictatorship”, after two senior staff members were suspended.
But Professor McMahon responded by saying that it would take time to turn around “many years of under-investment”, and Aberystwyth performed more strongly in last year’s league tables.
In a statement announcing her resignation, Professor McMahon said she had given a “great deal of thought” to her decision, and that she was “immensely proud” of her record.
“It has been and continues to be a pleasure and a privilege to serve and lead this very special university, to work through the difficulties we have had to confront, but even more importantly, to encourage everyone to celebrate our many successes,” Professor McMahon said.
“There have been a lot of those successes lately, and I therefore feel very confident that the university is now firmly on the right track, making this the right time for someone else to come in and lead the next phase, and allowing me to think about my own priorities and next opportunities.”
Professor McMahon, who joined Aberystwyth from the University of Edinburgh, said that she would focus on external activities only, such as development and alumni work, from February.