Imperial College London announces plans for new leadership

Queen's Tower

New leadership arrangements announced, with Rector becoming President & Rector and search for first Provost launched - News release

Imperial College London News Release
For Immediate Release
Monday 30 April 2012

Imperial College London announces plans for new leadership

- Search for first Provost launched today
- Rector becomes President & Rector

Imperial College London today announces plans for new leadership arrangements which will separate the current responsibilities of the Rector, and create a new role of Provost. The search for the first Provost of the College starts today and marks the beginning of the transition towards a leadership model that also includes the new position of President & Rector.

 Imperial's Council, the governing body of the College, has agreed to change the current leadership structure for the College. The role of President & Rector will have oversight of all functions at Imperial, but will also place greater emphasis on Imperial's external affairs in the UK and overseas, focusing on building relationships with alumni, supporters, governments and industry. The Provost will be responsible for advancing and delivering the College's core academic mission - education, research and translation.

Explaining the reasons behind the decision to change the leadership model of the College, Chair of Imperial's Council, Baroness Manningham-Buller, said: "Higher education is facing tough challenges. State funding for UK universities is reducing and universities across the wider world are competing with well-established institutions like ourselves for the best students and staff. We have to be imaginative and flexible both to take advantage of the opportunities we have and to overcome the difficulties we face."

She added, "In changing the leadership structure we can place more emphasis on strengthening our relationships with those who share our vision of the importance of higher education. We need to promote more assiduously Imperial's reputation, to knit together our extensive network of alumni, to raise funds to secure the future, to cultivate our ability to influence and to work in partnership with governments and other institutions. Doing so will allow Imperial to maintain its position as one of the world's top universities."

In line with the beginning of the search for a Provost, from today Sir Keith O'Nions assumes the title of President & Rector. Commenting on the new approach, Sir Keith said:

"This model is well established in many of the world's leading universities, most notably in the US.  The President & Rector, as the College's leader, will promote Imperial's position as a global university, moving it into a different league in terms of development potential, and influence of higher education and research policy. The Provost will ensure the standard and quality of the academic programme is maintained and enhanced."

The post of Provost will report directly to the President & Rector, and together they will have responsibility for the strategic direction of the College. As a member of Council, Imperial College’s highest governing body, the Provost will also share responsibility for the wider governance of the College.

At the end of May the search will commence for a new President & Rector to succeed Sir Keith O'Nions following his retirement at the end of 2013, at which point the new leadership model will be fully in place.

Global executive search firm Perrett Laver have been appointed to lead the recruitment of both posts. Further information about the role of Provost and details of how to apply can be found at: //


Media Enquiries

For further information contact:

Simon Watts
Imperial College London Press Office
Tel: 020 7594 6701

 J-P Jones
Imperial College London Press Office
Tel: 020 7594 6704

 Notes to Editors:

About Imperial College London

Consistently rated amongst the world's best universities, Imperial College London is a science-based institution with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research that attracts 14,000 students and 6,000 staff of the highest international quality. Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and business, delivering practical solutions that improve quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture.

Since its foundation in 1907, Imperial's contributions to society have included the discovery of penicillin, the development of holography and the foundations of fibre optics. This commitment to the application of research for the benefit of all continues today, with current focuses including interdisciplinary collaborations to improve global health, tackle climate change, develop sustainable sources of energy and address security challenges.

In 2007, Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust formed the UK's first Academic Health Science Centre. This unique partnership aims to improve the quality of life of patients and populations by taking new discoveries and translating them into new therapies as quickly as possible.



Press office

Press Office
Communications and Public Affairs

Click to expand or contract

Contact details