Professor Slee, currently deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, will succeed Susan Price when she retires at the end of August.
He has been at Huddersfield for five years and during that time, in 2013, the institution won the University of the Year title at the Times Higher Education Awards.
A historian by training, Professor Slee has held senior management posts at Northumbria, Durham and Aston universities, and has also served as head of education policy at the Confederation of British Industry.
David Lowen, chair of the board of governors at Leeds Beckett, said Professor Slee had “a wealth of experience in the sector and an in-depth knowledge of the local and regional environment within which our university operates”.
“He also has an excellent track record of senior leadership across similar institutions notable for achieving success and transformational change; his leadership and vision will be critical in developing our next strategic plan,” Mr Lowen said.
Professor Slee said it was “an honour and a privilege” to be appointed Leeds Beckett’s vice-chancellor.
“The university is now very well placed to take advantage of the new opportunities the city of Leeds will gain from greater regional decentralisation,” he said. “I am proud to be joining a university which makes such a powerful and positive contribution to the social, economic and cultural wellbeing of the communities it serves, and through its commitment to world class learning transforms the lives of lives of so many people.”
With Professor Slee as its deputy vice-chancellor, Huddersfield created the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre to foster business partnerships, quadrupled its international income, and in 2012 became the first university where 100 per cent of academic staff had achieved fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.
Leeds Beckett has undergone similarly dramatic change, moving under Professor Price from financial deficit to multi-million pound surplus and changing its name from Leeds Metropolitan University.