Mark Stephens, UEL’s new chair of governors, told staff on 25 September that Sir Deian would take the reins on 4 December, the departure date for the university’s acting vice-chancellor, Susan Price. Professor Price is leaving to head up Leeds Metropolitan University.
Mr Stephens said that governors had compiled a “very strong longlist” for the position of vice-chancellor and would be holding final interviews on 21 October. He said: “Governors recognise that there is likely to be some delay before a new vice-chancellor can take office, and with that in mind they have approached Professor Sir Deian Hopkin… to see if he would be interested in taking up an interim appointment. The governors are delighted to inform you that Sir Deian has expressed his willingness to lead our university during this period.”
Martin Everett, UEL’s former vice-chancellor, was suspended in July 2008 on charges of poor leadership by Mr Stephens’ predecessor, Jim McKenna. Professor Everett left the university in February 2009 following an investigation by the university.
Professor Hopkin told Times Higher Education that he expected to be at UEL for at least six months. He was not going there to “troubleshoot”, but to “bridge the gap” between Professor Price’s departure and the new appointment, he added.
Sir Deian, who retired from London South Bank in April, said: “This is a university whose values and aspirations I entirely share and whose contribution to the society and economy of London I much admire.”