Professor Simone Buitendijk to step down as Vice-Chancellor and President

4 October 2023

Professor Simone Buitendijk today announced her intention to step down as Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Leeds from 31 December 2023 to seek new leadership opportunities in higher education.

Professor Simone Buitendijk to step down as Vice-Chancellor and President. October 2023

Professor Buitendijk will effect a smooth transition for Provost and Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Hai-Sui Yu to act as interim Vice-Chancellor and President until a global recruitment competition can identify her permanent successor.

Reflecting on her time as Vice-Chancellor, Professor Buitendijk said: “I have truly enjoyed leading the community at Leeds and believe that our collective work to develop our strategy ‘Universal Values, Global Change’ has set the University on an ambitious course as a world leading institution with a unique emphasis on collaboration rather than competition to create a better world for all.

“Together we have achieved so much over the past three years, and with the conditions for the University’s future success now in place, I feel the time is right for me to start the next chapter of my career in leadership in UK and international higher education.

“I would like to thank everyone in the community for their support, their friendship and their collective endeavours to make the University of Leeds such a special place in which to learn, to teach and to undertake research. I know the University will be in excellent hands under Hai-Sui’s interim leadership and I wish the next Vice-Chancellor every success in taking the University on the next steps of its journey to help shape a better future for all.”

Chair of Council Alastair da Costa paid tribute to Professor Buitendijk: “Having steered the formulation and introduction of the University’s bold academic strategy for 2020 to 2030 ‘Universal Values, Global Change’, Simone has overseen the blueprint for a values-driven university that harnesses expertise in research and education to help shape a better future for humanity, working through collaboration to tackle inequalities, benefit society and drive change.

“Simone has also introduced major reform programmes to improve research, teaching and the student experience at Leeds including Curriculum Redefined and Research Transformed, as well as the Knowledge Equity Network which encourages inclusive, transdisciplinary research partnerships to tackle the disparities between the Global South and Global North based on equity, mutual benefit and empowerment. 

“The University’s success and ambition under Simone’s leadership is reflected in it achieving its highest ever position of 75th in the most recent prestigious QS World University Rankings. On behalf of Council and the whole University community I would like to thank Simone for her dedication, work and contribution as Vice-Chancellor and President and to wish her further success in her continuing career.”

In her time at Leeds, Professor Buitendijk has also represented the University on the global stage, securing international partnerships with leading universities overseas to pursue educational and research excellence and tackle global challenges together.

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