John Joughin has been acting vice-chancellor for the past six months following the departure of Patrick McGhee on health grounds.
Before that, Professor Joughin was deputy vice-chancellor, leading the university’s research strategy.
He has 20 years’ experience “as an accomplished academic and Shakespearean scholar”, the university said in a press release.
Professor McGhee left suddenly in January, but in May returned to Twitter, thanking well-wishers for their support.
Both UEL’s pro vice-chancellor, international, John Shaw, and pro vice-chancellor and director of finance, Nirmal Borkhataria, also left the institution between the end of December 2012 and the end of January 2013.
Commenting on Professor Joughin’s appointment, Mark Stephens, chair of UEL’s board of governors, said: “The board believe John has the optimal skill set to lead the university.
“His dedication and commitment to UEL and the wider community, along with his exemplary track record in higher education puts him in the best position to lead the university.”
Professor Joughin said: “I am extremely proud of our committed staff and talented students, and I am honoured to serve them as vice-chancellor, at what is a challenging but exciting time for higher education.
“I look forward to working with students, staff, governors and stakeholders to secure a successful future for the university in the years ahead.”