UUK appoints new Chief Executive

Issued by Universities UK Universities UK is pleased to announce the appointment of Nicola Dandridge as its new Chief Executive.

Nicola is currently Chief Executive of Equality Challenge Unit, which promotes equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. She will join UUK on 1 September 2009, and takes up the role following the departure of Diana Warwick, who leaves UUK at the end of August after 14 years as Chief Executive.

Formerly a partner and head of equality at Thompsons Solicitors, the UK's largest firm of solicitors acting for the trade union and labour movement, Nicola initially worked in the City as a lawyer, before qualifying in Scotland and working in Glasgow for 10 years. She was appointed Chief Executive of Equality Challenge Unit in 2006. While there she has overseen its restructuring as a limited company, developing a new vision and extending its remit to cover students as well as staff in HE.

Nicola has been a member of the national Equality and Diversity Committee of the Learning and Skills Council since 2004, and has undertaken extensive work for the European Commission to ensure consistent implementation of the European Equality Directives.

Nicola said: "I am delighted to be joining Universities UK, and am very much looking forward to leading the organisation through what will undoubtedly be challenging and exciting times. UUK plays a vital role in the higher education sector and it will be a privilege to play a part in contributing to the outstanding work of higher education institutions throughout the UK. I would like to pay tribute to the work of Diana Warwick as retiring Chief Executive, to her commitment and the exceptional contribution that she has made to UUK and to the higher education sector."

UUK President Rick Trainor said: "The search for someone with the appropriate vision, leadership skills and approach to the role of the UK's universities in today's society has been far-reaching and highly competitive. I am delighted that Nicola will be leading Universities UK as we tackle key issues for the higher education sector in this challenging economic climate. "

Professor Steve Smith, President-elect of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter, who will begin his two-year presidency on 1 August 2009, said: "I am delighted at the prospect of working with Nicola. Her experience and fresh perspective will enable us to face the challenges ahead with great confidence."


1. Nicola Dandridge will be available for interview on the morning of Monday 29 June at Woburn House. To request an interview or for any further inquiries contact UUK Press Unit on pressunit@universitiesuk.ac.uk or 020 7419 5407.

2. Additional biographical note: Nicola Dandridge read Classics at Oxford University, and obtained her professional legal qualifications in 1985 at the City of London Polytechnic (now London Metropolitan University). She studied law at Glasgow University and qualified as a Scottish lawyer in 1992. For a picture please contact the UUK Press Unit.

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