The next vice-chancellor of Glyndwr University will be Maria Hinfelaar.
Dr Hinfelaar, who has been president of the Limerick Institute of Technology since 2004, will join the North Wales university at the start of April.
Professor Upton has been credited with stabilising the fortunes of an institution that reported a £4 million loss in 2013-14 and faces continuing restrictions on international recruitment following the suspension of its visa sponsorship licence last year.
Glyndwr now plans to double its number of full-time UK and European Union undergraduates over the next five years, to increase international recruitment, and to work towards securing research degree-awarding powers.
Dr Hinfelaar, a Dutch-born expert in international retailing, said she hoped to “export” Limerick’s focus on enterprise and research to Wrexham.
“I can see tremendous potential for the university at the heart of North East Wales, which is a region undergoing interesting development,” Dr Hinfelaar said. “Glyndwr offers a wide diversity of programmes and has some really exciting niches. Personally, having spent the last 11 years leading a similar institution in the mid-west of Ireland, I have discovered first-hand how crucially important universities are to their area.”
The university, he said, had “huge potential”.
“The staff have worked incredibly hard to turn a corner and lay the foundations for the years ahead, which should see Glyndwr University grow in stature as an institution the people of Wrexham and North East Wales can be incredibly proud of,” Professor Upton said.
Dr Hinfelaar is the latest in a string of female vice-chancellors to be recruited by UK higher education institutions in the past year, following, most recently, the appointment of Liz Barnes at Staffordshire University.