The University of Central Lancashire has confirmed that its vice-chancellor, Mike Thomas, will step down on 30 November.
David Taylor, Uclan’s pro-chancellor and chair of its university board, said that Professor Thomas, who has led the Preston institution since 2015, “wishes to pursue further academic opportunities and will remain active in the sector”.
“On behalf of the university, I wish to express my thanks to Professor Thomas for his service to the university since he joined us in September 2014 and to wish him every success for the future,” Mr Taylor said.
“Professor Thomas stated that he would like to say thank you to colleagues at the university, whom he holds in the highest regard.”
Mr Taylor said that Uclan’s two deputy vice-chancellors, Lynne Livesey and Liz Bromley, would lead the institution until a permanent replacement is appointed.
Professor Thomas, a former submariner, previously served as a deputy vice-chancellor at Uclan and as a pro vice-chancellor at the University of Chester.
He was initially appointed on an interim basis after the resignation in 2015 of Gerry Kelleher, who had served as vice-chancellor in a group structure underneath a chief executive.
The last chief executive, Richard Hext, stepped down in September 2015. He had taken over from Malcolm McVicar, who had been Uclan’s vice-chancellor between 1998 and 2013.
Under Dr McVicar, the institution had pursued a strategy of international expansion, including a campus built in Cyprus’ United Nations buffer zone, but the venture ran up seven-figure annual losses during this time, and Uclan’s strategy has since shifted away from the development of overseas outposts.
Professor Thomas’ departure follows the suspension of Richard Davies, vice-chancellor of Swansea University, and three other members of staff at the institution, while an internal investigation is carried out.