EMBATTLED college chief Roger Ward has left the Association of Colleges, following an inquiry into allegations of "impropriety".
Mr Ward was suspended as chief executive of the AoC last month, following accusations in Private Eye and The Times Educational Supplement about his links with staff recruitment agency Education Lecturing Services and financial advisers Burke Ford Reed.
Solicitors McKeag and Co were called in to mount an independent inquiry to "ascertain whether or not there has been any impropriety by Mr Roger Ward in relation to ELS and/or Burke Ford Reed".
Following an oral, interim report to the AoC Board from McKeag, this week, the AoC said: "The board, faced with the prospect of a protracted inquiry, decided that this situation could not be permitted to continue."
Graham Baskerville, vice chair of the AoC, said: "There is a mutual view that (Mr Ward) is unable to continue as chief executive."
Mr Ward told The THES he could not comment. He is forbidden to discuss the exact terms on which his employment is terminated under his severance agreement.
An AoC statement said: "Roger Ward said that he was sad to leave his many friends in the college sector but that in order that the AoC may continue its progress unhindered, he felt it wise to step aside."
The AoC said that his departure was by mutual agreement. "Having made submissions to the inquiry, Roger Ward also expressed his view that any further period of uncertainty, in his view too, made his continuing role untenable."
The inquiry by McKeag and Co has been discontinued.
Mr Ward's employment will terminate on January 31 and he will receive a lump sum equivalent to three months' gross salary, under his severance agreement, signed on January 14.