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UCLan announces revised Group Structure

13 November 2012

Press Office

Outgoing Vice-Chancellor to be the interim Group CEO

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has today announced exciting plans to capitalise on future growth opportunities by operating under a revised Group Structure from August 2013.

The University’s activities in Preston will be the central point of the Group, acting as the guardian of academic quality, standards and awards. The other elements of the Group - including the international campus developments in Cyprus, Thailand and Sri Lanka - will be managed separately.

While the University Board will oversee the activities of the entire Group, the Group’s commercial scope requires the management of a new Group CEO. The Board has asked Dr Malcolm McVicar, the outgoing Vice-Chancellor, to be the interim Group CEO while the new structure and a new Vice-Chancellor for the Preston-based University are bedded in.

As part of the new structure, the University is also seeking permission to change its legal status from being a Higher Education Corporation (HEC) under the 1992 Act to becoming a Company Limited by Guarantee. This will provide the University with greater autonomy and independence in managing its own affairs whilst still retaining its status as both a university and a charity. 

"These are exciting times in higher education and the Board of the University is confident that these arrangements create a sound framework to build on the success of the last 20 years and assure the future of the University.”

Announcing the changes, Brian Harris, Chair of the University Board said: “The University operates in a highly dynamic landscape and we need to become more agile, both in terms of future challenges and the opportunities presented to us. Becoming a Company Limited by Guarantee will provide us with much greater flexibility to respond to the constantly shifting political and regulatory landscape in which we operate in the UK and to take advantage of the opportunities around the globe.

“Similarly, by adopting a Group Structure we will be better equipped to manage all the activities across the Group, with the University in Preston focusing on what it does best: developing and maintaining our core academic knowledge, delivering a superlative student experience enhanced by world-class research with a real-world impact. Meanwhile the other Group companies will be able to focus on generating new revenue streams and delivering our academic provision in-country.

“In a time of unprecedented change, the University group needs stability and experience – and this is why the Board is delighted that Dr Malcolm McVicar has agreed to act as the Group CEO while these changes bed in.

"These are exciting times in higher education and the Board of the University is confident that these arrangements create a sound framework to build on the success of the last 20 years and assure the future of the University.”

The process for recruiting a new Vice-Chancellor for UCLan in the UK commences later this month. The new Group structure will come into place from 1 August 2013.

“There is no plan to privatise the University; this has never been mentioned or discussed by the University Board”


UCLan Vice-Chancellor Malcolm McVicar added: “As a Company Limited by Guarantee, UCLan will retain its status as a University along with its tax status as a charity. The University will not be responsible to a set of shareholders with a vested financial interest in its profitability; it will continue to be accountable to its Board of Governors. There is no plan to privatise the University; this has never been mentioned or discussed by the University Board.

“Some other universities already operate as Companies Limited by Guarantee, for example Greenwich, London School of Economics, Westminster, London South Bank, London Met, Cumbria, Chester, Roehampton, Harper Adams, York St John, Winchester and Canterbury Christ Church.”