Skip to main content

1st March 2023

Nancy Rothwell to step down as Vice-Chancellor in 2024

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell will step down as The University of Manchester’s President and Vice-Chancellor in 2024
Nancy Rothwell to step down as Vice-Chancellor in 2024
Nancy Rothwell in her office. Photo: The Mancunion

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester, will step down from her role in summer 2024, the University has announced.

A statement released today (March 1) on StaffNet said: “As has been planned for some time, [Rothwell] will be stepping down after 14 years of unprecedented leadership in her present role when her current contract concludes.”

A search for Rothwell’s successor is expected to begin shortly and last for the remainder of the calendar year.

Dame Rothwell has been Vice-Chancellor since 2010 and was the first woman appointed to the role.

She took over from Alan Gilbert who served as Vice-Chancellor from 2004 until 2010.

A controversial figure amongst students during her time as Vice-Chancellor, Rothwell has been under fire in recent years over the University’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, including the erection of fences on Fallowfield Campus and falsely claiming on national television she’d apologised to a student for an alleged racial profiling incident.

In 2021, student activists, including a group called “Nancy Out”, petitioned for a vote of no confidence in Rothwell and the University’s senior leadership team.

The vote passed with a majority of 89%, although the referendum was non-binding and Rothwell did not resign.

Philippa Hird, Chair of the Board of Governors at The University of Manchester, is leading the search for a new Vice-Chancellor.

Praising Rothwell, she said: “Under her leadership, the University continues to develop as a world-leading centre of teaching and learning excellence, a research powerhouse, and is setting new standards for social responsibility. Nancy has also made an outstanding contribution to higher education through her sector and national roles.”

“Although it will be 2024 before any leadership transition occurs, we are embarking on a global search for her successor which inevitably takes time to complete. It will be an inclusive process with staff, students, and alumni from within the institution and our wider stakeholder community being invited to help inform the requirements for our next President and Vice-Chancellor.”

“Nancy will continue to lead the University as President and Vice-Chancellor until summer 2024 with her customary drive, skill and rigour and I look forward to working with her over that time.”

Joe McFadden

Joe McFadden

Managing Editor (2022/23) | Highly Commended for Outstanding Commitment in the North (SPA Regional Awards 2023) | Highly Commended Best Arts & Culture piece in the UK (SPA National Awards 2023) | Shortlisted for Best Reporter in the UK (SPA National Awards 2021)

More Coverage

Students’ Union release statement in response to “Pro-Life Society” petition

The Students’ Union Exec team has released a statement outlining their legal position in regards to the creation of and affiliation with new societies

Students’ Union addresses new Freedom of Speech Act

The government’s new Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act will come into force from 1 August 2024 and aims to be a provision for freedom of speech and academic freedom across universities and Students’ Unions

Protestors converge on University Green

Protests converge at the University Green, where Students Against Tyranny met with counter-protests from groups including Manchester Leftist Action and the Socialist Worker Student Society

University receives accreditation from United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

The University receives accreditation from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), joining the ranks of just five universities in the UK to achieve such recognition