The University of Southampton has announced its interim Vice-Chancellor when Professor Sir Christopher Snowden retires on 8 March.
Professor Mark Spearing, who currently holds the position of Vice President for Research and Enterprises, will assume the position of President and Vice-Chancellor on 9 March, until a permanent successor to Professor Snowden is appointed.
Under the University’s rules, one of the three Vice Presidents, who are only junior in the University position hierarchy to the Vice-Chancellor, are required to take over if there’s a gap between one Vice-Chancellor leaving and their successor beginning the job.
Since Professor Snowden announced in September 2018 his plan to retire in Spring 2019, the University has conducted an extensive process to find his permanent successor. This included an online survey of staff and students in October on the characteristics a Vice-Chancellor should have, with 744 responses to this survey, as well as further drop-in sessions held later in November. The company Odgers Benson was also hired to undertake a global search for the next Vice-Chancellor.
In the announcement of Professor Spearing’s temporary overseeing of the role, Chair of Council Phillip Greenish commented on the permanent Vice-Chancellor recruitment process:
I am pleased to report that the Joint Selection Committee has received a high number of applications for the permanent position of President and Vice-Chancellor. Our recruitment agency is now starting to conduct initial interviews and assessments on our behalf with a long-list of potential candidates. A report will be provided to the Joint Selection Committee to inform the process of short-listing.
It is likely that the new permanent Vice-Chancellor for 2019-2020 will be announced in April.