Michael Farthing is to step down as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex. The process to find his successor is now underway.

Farthing, who has been Vice-Chancellor since 2007, will leave the University by August next year, when a new Vice-Chancellor is set to be appointed.

Christian Brodie, Chair of the University’s governing Council, stated in a press release released at 10am this morning: “The Vice-Chancellor and I have been discussing succession planning for the leadership of the University.

“We have agreed that we should start the process for finding his successor now. This will create the opportunity for the University to consider the next stages of its development before the end of the current strategic plan.

“We anticipate that a new Vice-Chancellor will be appointed by the end of August 2016 and that Michael Farthing will leave the University at that time.”

Students’ Union President Abraham Baldry reacted to the news by stressing the importance of student consultation in the transition process, saying: “I’m keen to ensure students are involved in the selection of a new Vice-Chancellor and will be looking at this as part of the work we’re doing on the wider governance of the University”.

A source at Sussex House indicated to The Badger that Farthing will be retiring at Sussex, with the University’s Twitter account saying that “the VC [Vice-Chancellor] wants to build on interests in medicine as well as personal projects”. However, we are waiting for an official response from the University.

Professor Farthing had hinted in an interview with The Badger five months ago in April that he was staying at Sussex beyond 2016.

Farthing told interviewer Steve Barker (now alumni) that he was “already [thinking] about five years time” and “getting [Sussex] into a position where we can attract really good students”.

When asked what he most enjoyed about leading Sussex, which he will have done for nine years by the time of his departure next summer, Farthing gushed: “You know it’s a great privilege doing this job.”

The 67 year old explained that leaving his former role as a practitioner was was “a huge [personal] loss… having spent 30 odd years looking after people, treating people, using that sort of expertise, but added: “The thing I gained was this huge privilege of being able to think, and plan, and lead a senior team, and all the heads of school, and thinking about the future of a very vibrant and important organisation.

Daniel Green, Freya Marshall Payne and Paul Millar

Categories: News

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