Professor Kelleher, currently deputy vice-chancellor and chief operating officer at Manchester Metropolitan University, will start at Uclan in the summer.
Malcolm McVicar, current Uclan vice-chancellor, has said that he will stay on after the summer as interim group chief executive.
Uclan plans to adopt the new “group structure” from August, whereby its international branch campuses in Cyprus, Thailand and Sri Lanka will be managed separately, with its vice-chancellor running only the UK university and reporting to the group chief executive.
The university is also planning to become a company limited by guarantee. That move would give it greater freedom to attract private investment, but has attracted fierce opposition from unions.
Professor Kelleher said: “I look forward to meeting and working with students and staff at this pivotal time in Uclan’s development. Together there is no limit to what we can achieve in the months and years ahead.”
At MMU, Professor Kelleher is responsible for areas including strategic planning, research, knowledge exchange, recruitment, marketing and the line management of deans and faculties.
Prior to this role, Professor Kelleher was a pro vice-chancellor at Liverpool John Moores University. His career includes “several years in the software industry in the UK and Europe working on planning, scheduling and logistics”, Uclan said.