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The University of Southampton

Dame Helen Alexander installed as University Chancellor

Published: 20 April 2012

Dame Helen Alexander, CBE, has been installed as the 7th Chancellor of the University of Southampton during a formal ceremony.

Dame Helen succeeded Sir John Parker as Chancellor of the University of Southampton, when Sir John reached the end of his term in office on 31 July 2011. She is the University’s first female Chancellor.

Dame Helen is known for her wide and varied experience in international business. She recently completed a term as President of the CBI and is currently chair of the Port of London Authority and Incisive Media. A senior adviser to Bain Capital, she is a Trustee of the WWW (World Wide Web) Foundation, and chair of the Business Advisory Council of the Said Business School, Oxford University. She holds non-executive positions at Centrica and Rolls-Royce Group and was previously a trustee of the Tate Gallery and held non-executive positions with Northern Foods and BT. She comes to the end of her term as President of the CBI in June.

Dame Helen Alexander (centre)

For eleven years (until 2008), Helen Alexander was Chief Executive of the Economist Group, and she was also formerly managing director of the Economist Intelligence Unit.

During the formal installation ceremonies, Vice-Chancellor Professor Don Nutbeam commented: “Dame Helen is an outstanding leader and distinguished business woman. Her gifts, intellectually ability, dedication and business sense are much in demand and she has made an immense contribution to UK industry. She has always had a keen interest in the employability of graduates in the business world, she is committed to education and helping to build strong relationships between universities and the business community, enabling graduates to be work ready and fulfil their life long career potential. Given this background, we are delighted that Dame Helen has accepted our invitation to be Chancellor.”

The Chancellor is the principal lay officer of the University. This is largely an ambassadorial and ceremonial role, a key feature of which involves the Chancellor presiding over degree ceremonies at Graduation.

Dame Helen Alexander commented: “I was delighted to be invited and even more honoured to be elected by the University Court as the seventh Chancellor of the University of Southampton. I share in the pride of this institution as it has grown and prospered over its first six decades. When speaking to both staff and students, I am struck by a real sense of pride in shared success and history. It is a pride that reflects an inspiring environment – a place where ideas are formed and nurtured and where great things have been, are and will be achieved. I have every confidence in the long term success of the University of Southampton and in taking up the post of Chancellor I shall do my very best to contribute to its development in the coming years.”

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