De Montfort University has confirmed that its vice-chancellor, Dominic Shellard, is stepping down from the institution, as the Office for Students said that it was investigating governance at the institution.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the Leicester-based university said that Professor Shellard was leaving after “nine successful years…to pursue a range of new opportunities”. It added that Andy Collop, the deputy vice-chancellor, will serve as interim vice-chancellor until further notice.
The university had previously refused to provide any clarity when repeatedly asked whether Professor Shellard was still in post.
Professor Shellard’s departure follows news last week that the chair of De Montfort’s board of governors, Sir Ian Blatchford, has resigned. Sir Ian later told the news website Leicestershire Live that he had stood down in November, despite the fact that the university cited him as the board chair at the end of December after he was knighted in the Queen’s New Year Honours.
In a statement, De Montfort praised Professor Shellard for the launch of internationalisation initiatives #DMUglobal and Square Mile and for ensuring that the institution is “one of the most financially sustainable in the country”.
However, his leadership was not without controversy. Last month it was revealed that Professor Shellard was given a 22.3 per cent, or £64,000, pay rise in 2017-18. His remuneration package for the year totalled £358,000.
A spokesman for the OfS, the English sector regulator, said that it was “looking into a number of regulatory matters relating to De Montfort University, following the university reporting an issue to us in the autumn”.
“While this work is continuing there is no presumption of wrongdoing by the university and it would be inappropriate to comment further,” the spokesman added.
DMU’s University and College Union branch committee said that it was “saddened to see the governance of the university under question, especially at a time when governance across the HE sector is falling under intense scrutiny”.
“Our first concern is always with the staff and students of the university, and our reputation as an institution,” the branch committee added in a statement.
“We stand ready to work with management to implement root and branch change to our governance structures to ensure that all members of the university, staff and students, are actively involved in how the university is governed, to ensure transparency and to build a university of which we can all be truly proud.”
Matt Waddup, head of policy in the UCU national office, added: “The confusion coming from De Montfort in the past few days has done nothing for the reputation of universities already under fire for their governance.”