Message from the Chair of Council: update on the recruitment of the next Vice-Chancellor and President

Email sent to all colleagues from Alastair Da Costa, Chair of Council, on 5 January 2024

Dear colleagues,

We are at the start of the process for the appointment of the next Vice-Chancellor and President here at Leeds, and – as Chair of the University’s Council – I wanted to write to outline that process and timeline, and most importantly to share the ways in which you can engage in it. You, our staff community, know the University of Leeds best and your views and opinions will be critical in ensuring that the University secures the best possible individual to steer us into the future.

Process and timeline

As part of the first stage of this process, I am chairing a new Sub-Committee of Council, which has been established to oversee the recruitment process. As recommended by the University’s Nominating and Governance Committee, this Sub-Committee consists of: three other Lay members of Council; one non-academic staff member; one academic staff member (nominated by the Senate); one student member; and is supported by the University Secretary and Registrar. This Committee will be responsible for overseeing the process of making a recommendation to Council on the appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor and President, on which we expect Council to reach a decision before the summer of 2024.

Consultation: have your say

An executive search firm, Perrett Laver, has been appointed to support us in this process, and will be leading a wide-ranging consultation during the coming weeks with staff, students and other stakeholders. Accordingly, we would like to hear views on:

  • the vision, ambitions and the particular opportunities for the University as we look to the future;
  • the principal external challenges to the University that we will collectively have to face in the next five to ten years;
  • the values which underpin everything that we do and how they should be reflected in the next Vice-Chancellor and President;
  • the kind of background, experience and characteristics that we wish to identify in the next post holder.

There will be two open staff consultations which you are all invited to attend:

  • 12.00-13.00 on Thursday 18 January 2024 in Lecture Theatre A (1.10), Civil Engineering
  • 13.00-14.00 on Tuesday 23 January 2024 in Lecture Theatre (1.01), Esther Simpson

Please email to confirm your attendance.

During the month, Perrett Laver will also be holding small group meetings with our Senate, Leadership Forum, Heads of School, Heads of Professional Services, Heads of Research Institutes, campus trades union representatives, Staff Networks and Students’ Union representatives. An open student consultation will take place. There will also be meetings with members of the University Executive Group, Council, the University’s Chancellor and a selection of our external stakeholders.

I want to ensure that each and every member of our community is able to make their views known on these four key issues – and so I’m also inviting you to email thoughts, views and opinions to by 31 January 2024.

All feedback, whether in the focus groups or via emails, will be anonymised.  The principal themes, and any debates, will be captured and considered fully by the Council Committee, and will directly inform the job description and candidate profile for our new Vice-Chancellor and President.

We will aim to share that with you in February.

If you have any further questions or queries about the process for finding our new Vice-Chancellor and President, please do not hesitate to email

With best wishes,


Alastair Da Costa
Chair of Council

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