Students Staff

03 December 2013

Lord Currie to step down as Chair of Council

Professor Nigel South

Lord Currie

At the end of this month the University of Essex will bid farewell to Lord Currie as Chair of the University Council.

Lord Currie has been Chair for the past two years and a member of Council since 2009. He told University Council that he took the decision with the greatest regret, but he felt compelled to avoid any risk of a conflict of interest after being appointed to the role of Chair of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which takes on the role of the Competition Commission and certain consumer functions of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) from April 2014. The OFT recently launched a call for information into the provision of undergraduate higher education in England which could result in further actions in 2014 once its relevant functions have passed to the CMA.

Lord Currie has made an outstanding contribution to the University as it adapts to the new and highly competitive funding environment.

Lord Currie brought a wealth of experience to the role of Chair from his work in business, and as an academic and Government adviser. He was founding Chairman of Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, he sits on the cross benches in the House of Lords and was appointed as an assessor for the Leveson Inquiry. As a member of the Panel of Independent Forecasters he advised two Conservative Chancellors and acted as informal adviser to three Labour shadow Chancellors.

During his time as Chair, Lord Currie has seen the University appoint a new Vice-Chancellor, develop a new strategic plan for 2013-19, and achieve record scores in the National Student Survey. He has helped the University complete a number of strategic capital projects including The Forum Southend-on-Sea, Wivenhoe House and Edge Hotel School, and The Meadows student accommodation complex. The University continues this programme of investment with a new building to house Essex Business School, the Student Centre and library extension, and Parkside Office Village on the Knowledge Gateway.

Commenting on his departure Lord Currie said: “I have no doubt that the University will continue to rise to new challenges and will flourish in the years to come. I hope that I can continue to be engaged with the University in other ways than through Council and will be watching progress with interest.”

David Boyle, a member of Council since 2007 and one of the University’s three Pro-Chancellors, has been appointed by Council as Lord Currie’s successor as Chair from 1 January 2014.

David Boyle, who was voted in as Chair at last week’s meeting of Council, began his working career with seventeen years at Morgan Grenfell, the merchant bank, initially in corporate advisory work, with spells in Australia and Scotland, and subsequently in investment management. He then moved to what became Mercury Asset Management, where he spent nearly fifteen years, managing pension funds and other institutional portfolios.

David retired in 1997 and since then he has acted as a non-executive director of a number of commercial and investment companies. He has also taken on a number of voluntary posts in Essex including Deputy Chairman of Essex Community Foundation, President of the Rural Community Council of Essex and Chairman of Victim Support Essex. David was High Sheriff of Essex in 2002-03, a magistrate for twenty-three years and is currently Vice-Chairman of the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee for Essex.

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