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Northumbria's Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive to step down

24th February 2024

Professor Andrew Wathey, CBE has announced his intention to step down as Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Northumbria University, Newcastle, on 1st May 2022.

The University’s Board of Governors, led by Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods, Chair of the Board and Pro-Chancellor, will now begin the process of appointing the next Vice-Chancellor.  

Professor Wathey was appointed to Northumbria as Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive in 2008. He held posts at Oxford and Cambridge before moving to Royal Holloway University of London in 1989, where he was appointed Professor of Music History in 1999, Vice-Principal in 2003 and subsequently Senior Vice-Principal. In 2016 Professor Wathey was recognised in the New Year Honours list for services to Higher Education. Over the course of his time as Vice-Chancellor, Professor Wathey has served on a number of national HE sector bodies and committees and is currently a Board member of the Student Loans Company and the Quality Assurance Agency.  

An honour to have played a part in the University’s transformation

In a statement to staff, Professor Wathey said: “It has been an unparalleled privilege to lead this great University, to work alongside brilliant and committed colleagues and students, and to collaborate with our world-class partners, here in the UK and globally. Northumbria has transformed into a vibrant realisation of its ambition to be a research-rich, business-focussed, professional university, a new kind of excellent university taking on tomorrow, and stands ready to take on the opportunities and challenges of a post-pandemic future. It has been an honour to have played a part in this transformation.”

Professor Wathey added that his retirement would provide a chance to explore new opportunities to contribute to higher education and public life, while pursuing his own academic interests in musicology. 

Commenting on the Vice-Chancellor’s announcement, Dr Blackman-Woods, said: “Andrew Wathey has been an outstanding Vice-Chancellor during his tenure at the University of Northumbria. He has overseen a hugely successful transformation of the University into one that is widely recognised as being a challenger institution, well placed to address the demands and opportunities of the future. He set a truly ambitious vision and strategy for the University, and during his tenure the University’s research, its approach to access, and the professionalism and the strength of its academic community have been transformed, alongside developments in the estate.  As a strong advocate of partnership and collaboration, he has driven the University’s economic, social and cultural contribution to the North East.  Northumbria’s international activity, reach and global prominence have also grown rapidly, with partnerships and collaborative agreements across the globe.  Professor Wathey has made an enormous contribution to securing a very positive future for Northumbria University, to supporting the Higher Education sector more widely both nationally and internationally, and to the region locally. He will be hugely missed by staff, students and external partners."

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