Yekemi Otaru named chancellor-elect of UWS

The serial entrepreneur and author will become chancellor of the University of the West of Scotland in September

The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) has announced the name of its incoming chancellor.

Serial entrepreneur and author, Yekemi Otaru, will officially take up the role on 1 September, succeeding Dame Elish Angiolini.

Pronouncing herself “honoured” by the appointment, Otaru’s work will include representing UWS at key events, as well as conferring degrees and other academic distinctions.

“We are all living through challenging times, and higher education plays a vital role in society and for our economy,” she said.

“I eagerly look forward to being part of the university as it continues to carry out world-class research and knowledge transfer initiatives, such as in the areas of healthcare and sports science.

“Now is the perfect time for me to be joining the university’s journey in inspiring and educating the next generation of graduates, equipped with the skills needed to help society recover from the pandemic.”

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Otaru brings a wealth of academic and commercial experience to the role. The holder of four degrees, she is currently executive director at Doqaru sales and marketing consultancy, having previously served as MD at YO! Marketing, together with a number of other strategy and marketing roles.

All of which would probably come as a surprise to her younger self. Writing in 2016, Otaru said that she would likely have stayed on her original career path – she spent six years in engineering-related roles – were it not for a lack of mentors and role models.

Thus, perhaps, part of the driving force behind her work as an active mentor of business owners in the world’s poorest countries, as well as her committed support for women in business.

Relatedly, she is also a board member of Interface, bringing together the expertise to be found in national and international industries with Scottish education institutions.

Now is the perfect time for me to be joining the university’s journey in inspiring and educating the next generation of graduates – Yekemi Otaru

“Yekemi is a remarkable example of entrepreneurship and a tremendous role model for our students and wider university community,” said Professor Craig Mahoney, principal and vice-chancellor at UWS.

“Yekemi’s values very much align with those of UWS, from her passion for advancing equality, diversity and inclusion, to her commitment to enterprise, and her appointment is reflective of our strategic mission to make a positive difference to wider society. I am delighted to welcome her to the UWS family.”

Otaru’s appointment was also hailed by Ellie Gomersall, president of the Students’ Union at the university.

“UWS is a 21st century university and, with Yekemi’s impressive background in social media and as a woman in engineering, her modern approach will be really welcomed,” she said.

“I look forward to having the opportunity to work with her and see what we can achieve together.”

Yekemi Otaru reacts to her appointment as chancellor of UWS

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