Glasgow principal Sir Anton Muscatelli announces retirement

Long-serving leader will not seek fourth term, with handover scheduled for September 2025

April 15, 2024

Sir Anton Muscatelli has announced that he is to retire as the principal of the University of Glasgow next year.

Sir Anton, who studied at the institution and has led it since 2009, will not seek a fourth term and instead will hand over to a successor at the end of September 2025.

In a statement, the economist said this was an opportune time to hand over the leadership of the university – with Glasgow at the end of a strategic planning cycle and having completed the first phase of its campus development.

He said the university was in a very good place academically – with Glasgow finishing top in Scotland in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework in terms of its grade-point average – and financially.

“This has been despite considerable headwinds, like Brexit, economic instability and the global pandemic (and latterly an adverse public funding environment that the pandemic created),” he added.

“When I took on this role, I said that I wanted the university to be one of the leading universities in the world, and second to none in Scotland.

“Our reputation is stronger than ever, which is testament to what our whole community has achieved in the last 15 years.”

Under his leadership, Sir Anton said, Glasgow had transformed from a smaller Russell Group member into a leading research-intensive university with global reach and even stronger civic roots in Glasgow.

The university now employs more than 11,000 staff and has a £4.4 billion economic impact on the UK and Scottish economies.

Sir Anton, who was principal of Heriot-Watt University before returning to Glasgow, has advised the Westminster and Holyrood governments on economic policy and was knighted in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to economics and higher education.

“Glasgow now is not only a world-changing university with a great past, but also one with a world-leading reputation and profile,” he wrote.

“I have been immensely privileged to be able to represent a university whose students and colleagues are unafraid of embracing change and who have encouraged our institution to address major societal challenges, from socioeconomic inequalities and racial justice to the climate emergency and the responsibility we have as a university to build equitable partnerships.”

Having studied at Glasgow as an undergraduate and then worked there as an academic, Sir Anton’s retirement brings his association of more than 40 years with the university to a close.

“My main wish for the university as it moves forward is that we should continue to be very ambitious and courageous as an institution,” he said.

“We have the capacity, the ingenuity, the talented people and the strong foundations to achieve even more. In 15 more years, by the end of the 2030s, I’m confident that Glasgow can go on to even bigger and better things.”

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