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UCLan Group announces appointment of new Group Chief Executive

20 August 2014

Chris Theobald

Richard Hext appointed to role

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) Group today announced the appointment of Richard Hext as its new Group Chief Executive. Richard will take up his post on Monday, 1 September 2014 following the retirement of interim Group Chief Executive, Malcolm McVicar, a transition planned for by the Group and University Board.

Richard, aged 56, joins the UCLan Group having built a career within the international shipping industry where he has held a variety of senior executive positions.

As Group Chief Executive, he will assume overall accountability for Group performance and strategic development. Richard will also have a specific focus on the development and growth of international business and overseas campus plans.

Commenting on his appointment Richard said: “I am delighted to be joining such a forward thinking University Group whose Board is committed to making further investments at home while seizing opportunities in the large and growing international higher education market. Providing a world-class educational experience for all our students, both at home and abroad, is our shared vision and core priority.”

David Taylor, Chair of the UCLan Group and University Board, described the characteristics which made Richard the outstanding candidate for the role.

“I am delighted to be joining such a forward thinking University Group whose Board is committed to making further investments at home while seizing opportunities in the large and growing international higher education market."

We wanted a person with a wealth of international business experience who would bring a fresh perspective and not necessarily with a background in higher education management.

“A key factor in our selection decision was Richard’s considerable experience of working in a commercial, international environment on a variety of complex projects. Coupled with his outstanding interpersonal and communication skills and his evident empathy with higher education, I feel we have made an exceptional appointment.”

Outgoing Chair of the Board, Brian Harris, added: “Richard is hugely committed and enthusiastic about taking on this new role and he has already shown this through his intention to relocate from Hong Kong. I firmly believe that his appointment will be a major factor in strengthening the benefits that the University Group can bring to students, both at home and abroad.”

"Providing a world-class educational experience for all our students, both at home and abroad, is our shared vision and core priority."

Richard is currently non-executive Chairman of Univan Ship Management Limited, a company which manages a wide range of ships for owners from all over the world.

His previous roles include five years (2005-2009) as Deputy Chairman and subsequently Chief Executive at Pacific Basin Shipping, a listed Hong Kong-based shipping firm; and 22 years (1978-2000) with John Swire, a major UK-owned, Hong Kong-based conglomerate. In 2010 Swire invited him to rejoin the board of China Navigation, their shipping subsidiary, as a non-executive director.

He will retain his existing non-executive board appointments and is a member of the Hong Kong Advisory Board of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

Richard Hext