Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, has been named as the first CEO of the new Office for Students. She will leave UUK on 1 September 2017 after eight years at the organisation.
Commenting on Nicola's new appointment, Dame Julia Goodfellow, current President of UUK and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent, said:
"This is a vital role for the sector, and I am delighted that someone with Nicola's experience of and enthusiasm for higher education has been appointed to shape and lead the Office for Students with Sir Michael Barber.
"Nicola has been at the helm of UUK during some of the biggest changes the sector has seen: from the vote to raise the cap on tuition fees in 2010 and the passage of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, to managing the repercussions of the decision to leave the European Union after last year's referendum. At UUK she has been a tireless advocate for our world-class higher education sector, and a champion of social mobility, equality and diversity, and of employability and outcomes for students.
"On a personal note, she has been a tremendous support to me during the two years I have served as UUK President as we navigated uncharted waters. Nicola's knowledge of the sector, her political astuteness, her calmness under pressure and her inspirational leadership will stand her in good stead in her demanding new role."
Professor Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool who takes up the role of UUK President on 1 August 2017, said:
"Nicola has provided the sector with leadership during challenging times, and has always been ready to offer support and advice to individual vice-chancellors on a wide range of issues. She has raised the profile and influence of our universities nationally and internationally, and has played a key role in shaping the strategies and policies that have made UK universities admired around the world. While she will be missed at UUK, we are fortunate that her expertise and knowledge will be put to excellent use as the inaugural Chief Executive of the Office for Students.
"She leaves behind a high-performing team at UUK working on some of the most challenging issues currently affecting the sector – from student funding and finance to the impact of the Brexit on student and staff mobility and research networks. We will be working over the summer to appoint a successor with the vision and experience to lead the organisation as it prepares to mark its centenary in 2018."
Universities UK will shortly begin its search for a new Chief Executive to succeed Nicola Dandridge, with a view to announcing a new appointment ahead of UUK's annual conference on 6-7 September 2017.
* UPDATE (Monday 17 July): Nicola has stood down from her day to day role as Chief Executive of Universities UK as of today (Monday 17 July). The President of Universities UK Dame Julia Goodfellow has asked Alistair Jarvis to take on the role as Acting Chief Executive from today until the date that a new permanent chief executive starts in post.