Northumbria University’s ‘outstanding’ vice-chancellor to retire

Professor Andrew Wathey has led the university since 2008

Professor Andrew Wathey is to step down as vice-chancellor and chief executive of Northumbria University, Newcastle, on 1 May 2022.

Professor Wathey has led the university since 2008.

The professor of music history has previously held senior posts at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Royal Holloway. He is a board member of the Student Loans Company – and in 2020 had a brief stint as its interim chair – and the Quality Assurance Agency.

In 2016 was awarded a CBE for services to higher education.

Retirement will, he said, allow him to pursue his interest in musicology and new ways to contribute to higher education and public life.

Northumbria has transformed into a vibrant realisation of its ambition to be a research-rich, business-focussed, professional university – Professor Andrew Wathey

“It has been an unparalleled privilege to lead this great university, to work alongside brilliant and committed colleagues and students, and to collaborate with our world-class partners, here in the UK and globally,” said Professor Wathey.

“Northumbria has transformed into a vibrant realisation of its ambition to be a research-rich, business-focussed, professional university, a new kind of excellent university taking on tomorrow, and stands ready to take on the opportunities and challenges of a post-pandemic future. It has been an honour to have played a part in this transformation.”

Commenting on the announcement, Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods, chair of the university’s board of governors called Professor Wathey “an outstanding vice-chancellor” who had turned the university into “a challenger institution, well placed to address the demands and opportunities of the future.”

She added: “As a strong advocate of partnership and collaboration, he has driven the university’s economic, social and cultural contribution to the North East. Northumbria’s international activity, reach and global prominence have also grown rapidly, with partnerships and collaborative agreements across the globe. Professor Wathey has made an enormous contribution to securing a very positive future for Northumbria University, to supporting the higher education sector more widely both nationally and internationally, and to the region locally. He will be hugely missed by staff, students and external partners.”

The university’s board of governors will now begin the process of recruiting a new vice-chancellor.

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