The chairman of Plymouth Argyle Football Club, James Brent, will take the reins from former judge William Taylor.
In a message to staff, Mr Brent said the institution had been through a “difficult chapter” in recent months but that he was confident history would recognise the “heroes and heroines of the piece”.
The board suspended the university’s vice-chancellor, Wendy Purcell, in July as part of an ongoing review process. Mr Taylor announced his resignation from the board on 30 September, saying that the focus on him was distracting from the investigation into Professor Purcell. Mr Taylor has denied claims that he harassed female staff and student representatives.
Mr Brent, who is also the chief executive of the Akkeron Group, has been a governor of the institution since July 2013.
He told staff in an email: “All successful organisations have difficult chapters in their histories; in recent months we have had one of ours. It has played out in a very public way and I have seen hurt to several people who have provided years of dedicated service to the university.”
He added that the university was not about individuals but a community of people who provide “world-renowned teaching to students” and “research for the benefit of all”.
“I hope as we move forward everyone will respect and celebrate the success of the institution and the students we serve – who are at the heart of what we do,” he said.
“I have no doubt that history will recognise those who put such values above all else, as the heroes and heroines of the piece.”
Mr Brent also thanked Steve Pearce who stepped up to lead the board in what he described as “trying times” and who will continue to play an “active and important role” in the future.
Mr Brent will take up his position on 3 November.