Roderick Floud is relishing the challenge of being the first vice-chancellor from a post-1992 university to take the helm of the United Kingdom's foremost higher education employers' body.
His main aim is to promote unity between different types of university when he takes over from Sir Howard Newby as president of Universities UK (formerly the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals). His appointment is telling given this week's relaunch and strategic reorientation by the CVCP.
Professor Floud, provost of London Guildhall University and current CVCP vice-president, said: "I hope one of the reasons I got the job is because I have worked in every part of the sector. One of the things I will do is to try to unite these groups. I will certainly bring to bear my experience in a teaching-led institution."
His breadth of experience in research institutions and old and new universities is an obvious strength. His 12 years at Guildhall were preceded by time at a variety of institutions, including the Centre for Economic Policy Research, Stanford University, Birkbeck College and Cambridge University.
The narrowest of victories (52 votes to 51), over Essex vice-chancellor Ivor Crewe in the presidential election, belies the fact that he secured the backing of a number of old universities on top of the bulk, if not all, of the post-1992 vice-chancellors.
Much of Floud's appeal to vice-chancellors may stem from his pragmatic approach, as an economic historian, to a diverse range of problems in the higher education sector. He has never flinched from speaking out on issues such as access, tuition fees and the proposed foundation degrees.
His term of office may begin after the next general election, the time earmarked by education secretary David Blunkett for a full discussion of higher education funding.
People is edited by Harriet Swain and researched by Lynne Williams.
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