Preston’s university chief has quit.
The shock announcement that Gerry Kelleher is “standing down” with immediate effect has left staff at the University of Central Lancashire stunned and governors looking for a new vice-chancellor
Staff were told yesterday morning that Prof Kelleher was “standing down for personal reasons.”
He joined the university from Manchester Metropolitan in the summer of 2013.
Board Chairman David Taylor said: “I speak for the board, and indeed the entire university, when I say that we are very sorry to be losing Professor Kelleher.
“Gerry has had a major positive impact on the university since his arrival and our most recent student recruitment numbers demonstrate the excellent job he has done.
“I am sure I speak for everybody when I say that we wish Gerry all the best for the future.”
No further details behind the unexpected departure of the vice-chancellor have been given.
However, Prof Kelleher said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with UCLan.
“I know that I leave the university in good health and with a strong management and academic team in place.”
Mr Taylor confirmed that an official recruitment process to find a replacement would be undertaken “in due course.”
In the meantime he intends to recommend to the University Board that Professor Mike Thomas, the current deputy vice-chancellor (Academic), takes over the helm in the interim supported by Professor Robin Pollard, the deputy vice-chancellor (international), who will take on extra responsibilities.
Prof Kelleher took over from Malcolm McVicar in July 2013.
While at Manchester Metropolitan University was responsible for strategic planning, research, knowledge exchange, recruitment, marketing, international and line management of deans and faculties.
Before this he was a pro vice-chancellor at Liverpool John Moores University
Since arriving at Preston he has been credited with helping to secure funding for a £30m engineering centre and recently spearheaded proposals for a radical £200m revamp of the UCLan campus.
He is a Professor of artificial intelligence (computers and robotics).