Professor Phoenix replaces Michael Gunn, vice-chancellor of Staffordshire University, who had served as Million+ chair since 2013.
The group of newer universities made the announcement following its annual meeting on 14 May.
Professor Phoenix has been vice-chancellor of London South Bank since January 2014, having previously served as deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Central Lancashire for six years, where he was instrumental in creating Uclan’s first overseas research institute in China as well as its branch campus in Cyprus.
The biochemist said Million+ “is well-placed to respond to the agenda of the new government in Westminster whilst also working with our university members in Scotland”.
He paid tribute to Professor Gunn and Michael Driscoll, the vice-chancellor of Middlesex University and another former chair, “for their leadership of Million+ and their commitment to higher education and research. They have ensured that governments of all colours have recognised the value and benefits to individuals and the economy of supporting a world-class university system.”
Million+ bills itself as a “university think-tank” and currently has 18 “affiliates”.