Troubled university appoints new chair of governing body

Bleddyn Phillips assumes the role at Swansea University following an internal review which saw the sacking of both the vice-chancellor and dean of the school of management for gross misconduct

Swansea University has announced the appointment of a new leader for its governing body.

Bleddyn Phillips has been appointed chair of council for a four-year term, replacing Sir Roger Jones.

Phillips assumes his new role at a difficult time for the university. In July, it sacked vice-chancellor, Prof Richard Davies, for gross misconduct.

Dean of the school of management, Prof Marc Clement, was also dismissed with immediate effect, following an internal investigation. The pair had been suspended on full pay since November 2018.

As a Welsh-speaker, with strong roots in Llanelli and Gower, and with both parents having studied at Swansea, I have long felt an affinity with the university
 – Bleddyn Phillips

A total of six members of staff were suspended during the inquiry, over links with controversial plans to build a £200m Wellness Village in Llanelli.

In June, Plaid Cymru AM Bethan Sayed said that “serious questions” needed to be asked about Swansea’s internal issues, when it remained the only institute in Wales, England and Scotland still to publish its 2017-18 financial report. The accounts were eventually released in July, eight months after their due date.  The university claimed the delay was due to the “exceptional circumstance” of the internal inquiry.


From the archive: Swansea University sacks vice-chancellor  


Swansea made no mention of its travails as it welcomed Phillips into his new role, leading the body charged with approving the university’s mission and strategic vision.

“It will be a privilege to work with Bleddyn as we develop our new strategic plan and look forward to beginning our second century in 2020,” said the new vice-chancellor, Professor Paul Boyle.

Phillips, a lawyer by profession, called his appointment “a great honour,” adding: “As a Welsh-speaker, with strong roots in Llanelli and Gower, and with both parents having studied at Swansea, I have long felt an affinity with the university and have been delighted to serve on the council. I very much look forward to working with, and serving, the university as it celebrates its centenary in 2020 and beyond.”

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