Heavyweight vice chancellors have been voted off the ruling council of the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals.
Sir Colin Campbell, vice chancellor of Nottingham, and John Stoddart, principal of Sheffield Hallam, failed to retain their places when required to stand for re-election to the council.
Mr Stoddart was the last chairman of the Committee of Directors of Polytechnics, amalgamated into the CVCP in 1993, and was runner-up when the present chair of CVCP, Gareth Roberts, was elected last year. He has had a high profile in recent years as chair of the Higher Education Quality Council.
Sir Colin has gained a reputation as a forceful manager at Nottingham. A member of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, his popularity in government circles is indicated by membership of other quangos - the Medical Manpower Standing Advisory Committee and the Food Advisory Committee. He was a member of the high-profile Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority until 1994.
Three other council members did not seek re-election. Sir Michael Thompson of Birmingham is retiring this year, David Melville of Middlesex has been appointed chief executive of the Further Education Funding Council and Alan Wilson of Leeds chose to stand down.
Two of the new members - Sir Graeme Davies of Glasgow and Sir Stewart Sutherland of Edinburgh - are seen as possible candidates for the chairmanship when Professor Roberts's term of office ends next year. Sir Graeme has been elected to the post previously, only to be simultaneously appointed chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England in 1991. Sir Stewart was vice chancellor of the University of London from 1990 to 1994.