Calie Pistorius, the vice-chancellor of the University of Hull, has announced that he is standing down from the role at the end of January 2017.
Professor Pistorius, who has been at Hull’s helm for seven and a half years, said in a statement that he was at a point in his “life and career” where “I am ready for and want to move on to my next opportunity and role”.
“It has been a privilege to lead the University of Hull. It is a fantastic university, with a great academic heritage, a beautiful campus, welcoming people, a wonderful student experience and a real sense of purpose as an anchor institution,” he said.
During his time at Hull, Professor Pistorius has overseen significant change and initiated the largest investment programme in its history. The scheme pumped £200 million into enhancing the institution’s academic portfolio, staff and student experience, physical and IT infrastructure, and business and community partnerships, both in the UK and overseas.
He added that he was “proud of what we have achieved in the university, and also in the city and the region".
"We are extremely grateful to Calie for his leadership and vision in steering the university through a rapidly evolving and increasingly competitive higher education environment," said Barry Dodd, chair of Hull's governing council. Alan Johnson, MP for Hull West and Hessle, called Professor Pistorius a "great ambassador" for the institution and the city.
His tenure has not been without controversy, however.
The announcement comes in the wake of anger over the handling of the university's decision to sell off its Scarborough campus.
An initial intention to sell the campus to Hull College Group rather than Coventry University was met with criticism, with Ian Dunn, Coventry’s deputy vice-chancellor, revealing last year that the local borough council “wasn’t happy” with the decision. Hull College Group then subsequently pulled out of the deal leaving “staff and students in limbo”, according to an article by The Scarborough News.
It has since become clear that the Grimsby Institute Group, the owners of further and higher education institution Yorkshire Coast College, is likely to move its campuses to the site.
An online petition organised by the University and College Union, Unite and Unison at Hull quotes a motion passed by Scarborough staff calling for industrial action, condemning the "lack of transparency and meaningful consultation”, and declaring that they had “no confidence in the vice-chancellor”.
Students at Scarborough have also issued a petition demanding a refund of their £9,000 fees, after claiming the winding down of the campus left them with reduced facilities and services.