Edward Byrne, who is currently president and vice-chancellor at Monash University, will take over as principal and president of King’s in September 2014.
Professor Byrne, a neuroscientist and clinician, will replace Sir Rick Trainor, who is stepping down next year after a decade leading the central London university.
Professor Byrne, who holds dual Australian and British nationalities, has led Monash, which is Australia’s largest university with 65,000 students, 8,000 staff and 11 campuses, since 2009. Prior to that he was vice-provost (health) at University College London.
During his time at Monash, he established a new campus in Suzhou, China, and created a major alliance with the University of Warwick.
Professor Byrne said he was looking forward to joining King’s at a “time of both great challenge and opportunity for leading universities globally”.
“King’s is already a top 100 university in the world league tables and is perfectly positioned to capitalise on that status with its London location, commitment to institutional excellence in teaching, learning and research and developing interdisciplinary and international focus,” he said.
“There is no question that the university world will see ever greater globalisation with the pace of the information revolution and the rise of Asia in the 21st century and I look forward to helping King’s make its own contribution to this progress.”
Professor Byrne qualified in medicine at the University of Tasmania in 1974 and subsequently trained as a neurologist in both Adelaide and London.
He is a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Royal Colleges of Physicians of London and Edinburgh, the American Academy and the American Association of Neurology. He holds the higher degrees of doctor of medicine (University of Tasmania) and doctor of science (University of Melbourne).
Outgoing King’s principal Sir Rick, who will become rector of Exeter College, Oxford next year, said Professor Byrne was a “terrific appointment”.
“He is a distinguished neuroscientist who has combined an active clinical career with an outstanding contribution to research and teaching in the field of neuromuscular disorders,” he said.
“He has led Monash, a university which, like King’s, covers a very wide range of disciplines, through a period of exceptional development both in Australia and internationally.
“He also has substantial UK experience of senior academic leadership. In my opinion this is a terrific appointment.”