Yorkshire university chief resigns as vice-chancellor

EXCLUSIVE: The head of one of Yorkshire's leading universities, Professor Simon Lee, has resigned, it is understood.

Prof Lee, vice-chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University, tendered his resignation before Christmas to the university's chairman of governors, Ninian Watt, and it was accepted.

Today, in a statement, Chair of the Board of Governors, Ninian Watt said: "Professor Simon Lee, our Vice-Chancellor, has informed me that he will be leaving us this summer.

"Simon has led six extraordinarily successful years of transformation of the University and we look forward to that momentum being maintained. The University is well placed to attract our next Vice-Chancellor and we will be advertising accordingly.

"There will be plenty of opportunities in due course for students, staff, governors, partner organisations and other friends of the University to thank Professor Lee and indeed Mrs Lee for service to our community."

Prof Lee has become one of the most prominent figures in the university sporting scene and was recently appointed chairman of Podium, which co-ordinates the contributions of all UK universities and colleges to the London 2012 Olympics.

During his tenure as vice-chancellor, the university has undergone some dramatic changes. Leeds Met's Carnegie Faculty of Sport and Education has developed into a centre of excellence for sports-related studies.

Last November governors of the university, which has around 30,000 students, backed rebranding proposals to change its name to Leeds Carnegie University, following a consultation of more than 4,000 staff.

The university currently sponsors and has given its name to the Rugby League Carnegie Challenge Cup and has used the Carnegie brand in its sporting partnerships with Yorkshire County Cricket Club and the Leeds rugby league and union sides at Headingley.

Before taking up his post in Leeds Prof Lee, a father-of-three, spent eight years at Liverpool Hope University College, where he was rector and chief executive. He was also Professor of Jurisprudence at Queen's University Belfast.

A former law lecturer at Trinity College, Oxford, and King's College, London, he is also the author of books including Law and Morals and Uneasy Ethics.