University of London appoints new vice-chancellor

Monday 29 October 2018

Prof Wendy ThomsonThe University of London is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Wendy Thomson CBE (left) as its next vice-chancellor with effect from July 2019.

Wendy holds a tenured professorship in social policy at McGill University and sits on the boards of the University of the Arts, the University of East Anglia as well as Diabetes UK.

Previously, Wendy held roles as the UK prime minister’s chief advisor on public service reform, also as the director of Best Value Inspections for England and Wales at the Audit Commission. Wendy’s research is in public service reform, health policy and child welfare and she has led governmental panels and reviews on these issues for government in Canada, and internationally for the Department for International Development (DFID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Wendy’s career started in the charity and local authority sectors where she held leadership positions in the London Boroughs of Islington and Newham. Currently, Wendy is managing director of Norfolk County Council serving a population of 900,000, with a budget of £1.4B and 6,000 staff. In this role Wendy has worked with elected members to lead the transformation of services and the development of new partnerships.

The chair of the appointments panel, Sir Richard Dearlove, said ‘I was pleased that the post attracted a very strong field of candidates and that we have been able to make an excellent appointment. The selection committee were especially impressed by Wendy’s wide leadership experience, her outstanding performance in a number of very challenging roles and her inclusive management style. I know that the Board of Trustees very much look forward to working closely with her.’

Michael Arthur, provost of University College London and member of the appointments panel said ‘Wendy’s strong sense of public service as well as her international leadership experience in government, local government and the academy made her an outstanding candidate and I’m confident that she will be an asset to the University.’

Ed Byrne, principal of King’s College London said ‘Wendy will be joining the University at a significant point in its history. The strength of the federation is at a high point as we await the passage of the new University of London Act through Parliament. This Act will enable the University’s members to become universities in their own right while remaining part of one of the most prestigious universities in the world. As deputy vice-chancellor of the University I look forward to supporting Wendy in her new role.’

Peter Kopelman, acting vice-chancellor, said ‘I look forward to meeting and welcoming Wendy in the coming weeks and helping her develop the next five year strategy.’

In accepting the appointment, Wendy said ‘It is an honour and a privilege to become the University of London’s next vice-chancellor. My predecessor, Sir Adrian Smith, and his team have transformed the university in recent years and I very much look forward to building on this solid foundation as well as supporting the university’s independent member institutions in the years ahead.’

– Ends –

Notes for editors

For further information and high-resolution imagery contact: Dr Laura Pritsch, Communications Manager, University of London, +44 (0)20 7862 8021 / laura.pritsch@london.ac.uk

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