Professor Upton, who has been appointed after Michael Scott’s sudden departure from Glyndwr, said he did not “underestimate the challenges that lie ahead”.
The institution faces significant financial difficulties, having run up a deficit of £4 million during 2012-13, and spent much of last year fighting to regain its licence to recruit international students after questions were raised about the validity of language qualifications held by hundreds of students.
Professor Upton, who also served as interim vice-chancellor of the University of Cumbria, said he looked forward to “working with the staff, students, governors and our external partners to find solutions to the issues the university has recently encountered”. His initial term will be for nine months.
He said that a recent restructuring had put “efficient and effective” management systems in place and that his task was to “provide the leadership needed to enable the university to build on the work that has already been undertaken and to restore financial stability”.
“I don’t underestimate the challenges that lie ahead but I am confident solutions can be found so that the university is in a position of greater strength as we move forward,” Professor Upton added.
Professor Upton was in charge at Oxford Brookes for a decade until his retirement in 2007, before spending 14 months at the helm of Cumbria between 2010 and 2011.
He was appointed by Cumbria after the sudden departure of Peter McCaffery, who left after less than a year, reportedly feeling that the post had been “mis-sold” to him.
Finances were the key issue there, too: Cumbria was at the time battling a deficit of £8.4 million, which it managed to turn around.
Sir Jon Shortridge, the chancellor of Glyndwr, said he was confident that Professor Upton was the “right man for the job”, adding that the university remained “unified” despite the “obstacles” it had faced in recent months.
Sir Jon added: “Professor Upton has an excellent record as an experienced vice-chancellor and we are confident he will make a positive impact on the university, its staff, stakeholders and, most importantly, our students.”
Professor Scott has been granted leave of absence until he formally leaves the university on 31 March.
In a joint statement, Penny Anderson and Marc Caldecott, the president and vice-president of Glyndwr Students’ Guild, said they had been reassured that students would be put at the heart of decision-making at the university.
“It has been a turbulent few months for the students of Glyndwr and we hope this appointment is a sign that the institution is turning a corner,” the statement said.