Gloucestershire turns to BIS for new v-c

The University of Gloucestershire has appointed a senior official at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills as its new vice-chancellor.

The appointment of Stephen Marston, director general for higher education funding and reform at BIS, follows a troubled period for the institution.

In 2008-09, it recorded a £6.3 million deficit. Although it posted improved results the following year, it still suffered an overall deficit of £1.2 million. It also has a large debt-to-income ratio, and last autumn it faced a damaging employment tribunal brought by an internal whistleblower, business development manager Jan Merrigan.

The university announced last November that it was seeking to appoint a new vice-chancellor just three months after Paul Hartley had been made acting vice-chancellor.

Dr Hartley stepped in after Patricia Broadfoot announced her retirement as vice-chancellor amid rows over the university’s financial state.

Speaking after his appointment was announced today, Mr Marston said he was joining an institution that had “great strengths, enormous potential and is successfully rebuilding its financial position. It is fast becoming the type of agile, high-quality, market-aware university that will thrive into the future.”

The Rev Malcolm Herbert, chair of the university council, said: “This appointment signals a new phase in the development of the university as it gets stronger financially and looks forward to the opportunities the new higher education landscape will bring.”

He expressed a “debt of gratitude” to Dr Hartley, saying that he had done an “excellent job in extremely challenging circumstances to continue to provide academic leadership and to turn the university around financially”.

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