University of Southampton President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, has announced that he will retire in Spring 2019.
Professor Sir Christopher Snowden (pictured above, with the Duchess of Cornwall) joined the University in October 2015. He was previously Vice-Chancellor at the University of Surrey and a former President of Universities UK (UUK). He is also a former member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology and a fellow of both the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering.
In a University press release announcing the Vice-Chancellor’s retirement, Philip Greenish, Chair of the University’s governing body, the University 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).
Mr Greenish added:
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.
Meanwhile, Professor Sir Christopher Snowden himself said in a message to staff and students:
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…
Professor Sir Christopher Snowden’s tenure as Vice-Chancellor has seen significant restructuring of the University, including a reduction in the number of University faculties from 8 to 5 for the 2018/19 academic year.
He has also faced considerable scrutiny for the size of his salary, which was one of the highest for a University Vice-Chancellor in the UK. Professor Sir Christopher Snowden’s salary for the 2016-17 University financial year amounted to £423,000 baseline salary, rising to £433,000 in total, when including USS pension scheme deficit recovery charge and taxable benefits.
Update: A university spokesperson has confirmed to Wessex Scene that Professor Sir Christopher Snowden will be paid his normal Vice-Chancellor salary until Spring 2019 and there will be no further payments. He also does not receive any pension contributions directly from the University.
This means that unlike his predecessor, Vice-Chancellor Professor Don Nutbeam, Professor Sir Christopher Snowden will not receive any retirement payout.
The formal appointment process to find a successor as Vice-Chancellor will begin immediately.