John Coyne, vice-chancellor of the University of Derby, has announced his retirement, while Nick Foskett, head of Keele University, said that he would be leaving the institution to pursue “a number of academic and personal opportunities”.
Professor Coyne, who has led Derby for the past decade, will retire at the end of the current academic year.
The university recently entered the top 50 in The Guardian’s domestic league table and has just welcomed its largest new student intake.
“I was always confident we could make progress from the moment I set foot in the place but the achievements of the past 10 years have been beyond my wildest expectations,” Professor Coyne said.
“I am as committed to the task now as ever I was, but there comes a time when you have to let go and enable the university to prosper under new leadership – as it surely will. The intensity with which I have always done the job has inevitably squeezed out family and other interests so it is now time to place them to the forefront.”
Chris Hughes, chair of the university council, said that Professor Coyne had “given both inspirational and dedicated leadership during his 10 years with us”.
The process to find a successor has already started and the university aims to have a new vice-chancellor in post by August 2015.
Professor Foskett, vice-chancellor at Keele since 2010, said he would be leaving the institution in the summer of 2015.
Keele came in the top three for overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey in 2014, while the institution said it was recognised as one of the world’s leading centres in areas such as arthritis research, astrophysics, tropical diseases and environmental sustainability.
“I am leaving Keele after five very successful and enjoyable years to pursue a number of academic and personal opportunities that are not possible within the hugely demanding role of vice-chancellor,” Professor Foskett said.
“I look forward to remaining closely associated with the university and to observing its continued success and achievement.”
Ralph Findlay, chair of council, said: “In his five years as vice-chancellor, Nick has led the development of Keele as a top research-led university and recognised early the importance of student satisfaction in attracting high-calibre applicants to our undergraduate courses.
“As a consequence of his leadership, Nick’s successor will join a university with a unique position in the market and a clear sense of purpose and direction.”
The university said it would seek to appoint a successor to Professor Foskett to take over next summer.