Following today’s meetings of Senate and Council, Professor Ian H White FREng has been appointed as the next Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bath.

He will take up the role on 8 April 2019.

Professor White is currently van Eck Professor of Engineering and a Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Cambridge, and Master of Jesus College.

Other leadership positions he has held at Cambridge include Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Institutional Affairs and Head of the School of Technology. He is Head of the Centre for Photonics Systems in the Engineering Department at Cambridge University.

He has a strong existing affinity with both Bath and the wider West of England region having been Professor of Physics at the University of Bath from 1990-96 and then Professor and later Head of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Bristol.

The decision to appoint Professor White follows a process of engagement and consultation involving all sections of the University community. He will be the seventh Vice-Chancellor since the granting of the University’s Royal Charter in 1966.

Professor White has the following message for students and staff.

“This appointment means a great deal to me. Bath is a University which I care about deeply, having worked here at an early and highly significant stage in my academic career.

“It will be an absolute privilege to become your Vice-Chancellor, and I look forward to speaking with you and learning more about the University today and our collective ambitions for the future.

“This University’s founding vision, of providing a rigorous and relevant education to students, and serving society through world-class research, resonates profoundly with me. I firmly believe we can together build on the considerable success you have already achieved, maintaining quality and enhancing innovation. My wife Margaret and I are greatly looking forward to playing our part in the University community.”

Professor Ian H White FREng and his wife

The University’s Chancellor, His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex, Chair of the Committee which oversaw the appointment process, said:

“The Committee was impressed by Professor White’s passion, ideas, imagination, innovation and manner. We were struck with the way in which he analysed the needs of the University now and in the future, and how he applied his experiences from Bath, Bristol and Cambridge to create unique and relevant solutions.

“I would also like to pay tribute to members of the University community who have played such a crucial role in recruiting our next Vice-Chancellor, and all those who have taken part in the consultation process.”

Thomas Sheppard, Chair of Council, said:

“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Professor White as the next Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bath. His exceptional academic record and demonstrable excellence across teaching, research, innovation and high-level university administration will be of great importance for the University in this very challenging time for the sector. I also believe that his values and collaborative leadership approach will make him the perfect candidate to work with the entire University community and its local, national and international stakeholders.”

The Committee on the Office of Vice-Chancellor is a Joint Committee of Council and Senate, chaired by the Chancellor. It is responsible for making recommendations to Council and Senate on the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor of the University.

The Committee oversaw a process of consultation and engagement involving all sections of the University community with a final interview conducted by members of Council, representatives of academic and professional services staff and the President of the University of Bath Students’ Union.

Eve Alcock, President of the University of Bath Students’ Union said:

“The recruitment process for our new Vice-Chancellor was transparent, inclusive and wide-ranging. Students and staff had input and representation throughout and so we had the chance hear about Ian White’s values and vision for the University. As a result, I am confident that Ian White is the right choice for Bath. I believe we can all look forward to an exciting and bright future for our University.”

Professor Veronica Hope-Hailey, Dean of the University of Bath School of Management and a member of the final interview panel, said:

“As a proven academic leader and innovator, Professor White has the precise mix of values, attributes, attitudes and experience required to take our community forward. I look forward to working closely with him as a colleague.”

Dr Susanne Gebhard, Senior Lecturer, Department of Biology and Biochemistry who also joined the panel said:

“Professor White impressed us all with his acute awareness of the current strengths and needs of our University. His ideas on how we might further develop over the coming years were creative and exciting. His clear emphasis on building a sense of trust and community within the University will I am sure resonate well with staff and students alike. I am very much looking forward to what the future under his leadership will bring.”

Stephanie Lear, a member of Professional Services staff and Head of Individual Philanthropy in the Department of Development and Alumni Relations, said:

“Professor White shared with us his extensive prior experience of working with Professional Services, external partners and the alumni community. As the diversification of income to universities becomes critical, he outlined a compelling vision as to how he would lead from the front and put Bath in the best possible position. We look forward to introducing him to our alumni and friends community both in the UK and overseas.”

As previously communicated, Professor Bernie Morley will serve as Acting Vice-Chancellor until Professor White’s arrival.

Further information about the recruitment process and the remuneration and terms and conditions of service agreed by Council for the new Vice-Chancellor can be viewed.