Leeds Met v-c resigns

Simon Lee will leave at the end of the academic year. Melanie Newman reports

January 15, 2009

Simon Lee, the vice-chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University, has resigned after six years in post.

Ninian Watt, the chair of Leeds Met’s board of governors, said today: “Professor Simon Lee, our vice-chancellor, has informed me that he will be leaving us this summer. Simon has led six extraordinarily successful years of transformation of the university, and we look forward to that momentum being maintained. The university is well placed to attract our next vice-chancellor, and we will be advertising accordingly.”

Professor Lee is understood to have tendered his resignation before Christmas. He plans to stay at the university until graduation time this summer.

In today’s “VC Reflects” column on the university’s website, Professor Lee writes: “When I joined this university in 2003, Sir Howard Newby was chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council [for England]. He became vice-chancellor of the University of the West of England at Bristol and is now Liverpool’s vice-chancellor. His successor at Hefce, David Eastwood, had been vice-chancellor of East Anglia and is about to become Birmingham’s vice-chancellor. By comparison with their three jobs each in these six years, it seems rather conservative to have stayed in one post so long, but I have decided, as the chair of governors, Ninian Watt, announces today, that this is to be my last academic year here.”

Before joining Leeds Met – whose name is to change this year to Leeds Carnegie University – Professor Lee was rector and chief executive of Liverpool Hope University College and professor of jurisprudence at Queen’s University Belfast. Many of Professor Lee’s key achievements at Leeds Met have been in the sporting field. He transformed the Carnegie Faculty of Sport and Education into a centre of excellence. In 2007, the university purchased a 51 per cent share in Leeds Tykes rugby union club, changing its name to Leeds Carnegie. In the same year, Professor Lee struck a deal under which the university sponsored rugby league’s premier competition, the Challenge Cup – the first such partnership of its kind in higher education.

A spokesperson for the University and College Union branch at Leeds Met said: “Simon Lee has transformed the place in terms of building and sports sponsorship but has not done much on the staff relationship side. Let’s hope those things improve when he’s gone.”


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