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The University of Southampton

University of Southampton Vice-Chancellor announces retirement

Published: 10 September 2018
Sir Christopher Snowden
Sir Christopher Snowden joined the University of Southampton in 2015.

The President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, has today announced his decision to retire in spring 2019.

Sir Christopher joined the University in October 2015. He is a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey and a former President of Universities UK (UUK), and has held international leadership roles in the private sector, including as a plc Chief Executive. A Fellow of the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering, he is a former member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, and was knighted in the 2012 New Year’s Honours in recognition of his contributions to engineering and higher education.

Philip Greenish, Chair of Council, said: “Sir Christopher joined us to enhance Southampton’s reputation as one of the world’s leading universities, and to prepare the University for a rapidly changing higher education environment. His transformation strategy and his global ambitions for our University are already delivering successes, with the University now streamlined into a new five-faculty structure, finance secured to enable major investment in a better student and staff experience, a return to the Global Top 100 this year with significant improvement in UK league tables, the award of a Silver in the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF), and an increased overall satisfaction score in this year’s National Student Survey (NSS).

“We are deeply grateful to him for his tremendous contribution to and passion for Southampton, and for his relentless drive to create the highest quality education experience for our students, as well as encouraging ground-breaking research with a truly global impact. His achievements over recent years are all the more impressive in the light of the serious injuries he suffered in an accident shortly before he joined us and which he has continued to address with great fortitude.

“Our strategy and ambitions are clear, and we will ensure a smooth transition to his successor next year, who will continue our exciting transformation journey.”

In a message to staff and students today, Professor Sir Christopher Snowden said: “I have been privileged and am very proud to have served Southampton as Vice-Chancellor. It is an extraordinary institution, whose public impact globally, nationally and regionally increases every year, and whose staff, students and alumni continue to inspire me daily.

“This has been an extremely hard decision, but with the first stage of our University’s 10-Year transformation plan now successfully delivered, I do feel it is the right time for the University, and for my family and me, to retire.

“There will be time ahead for me to write more personally about my time at Southampton, and to thank all those in our community who have supported, inspired and challenged me in equal measure.  In the meantime, I will of course do everything possible in my remaining time at Southampton to ensure my successor has the strongest possible platform on which to drive forward the delivery of our strategy, and ensure the continuing success of this exceptional institution.”

The formal appointment process for a successor as Vice-Chancellor will commence immediately.


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