I am pleased to announce that the University Council has made two appointments to acting senior leadership roles. Professor Neil Kellard has been appointed as the Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor and will assume the role on 4 August 2024. Professor Graham Underwood has been appointed as Acting Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Health from 1 August 2024. Both appointments will be until to 31 July 2025.

The appointments of Professors Kellard and Underwood were proposed by Professor Maria Fasli, incoming Acting Vice-Chancellor, following consultation with USG members, pan-University Deans, Heads of Department and Heads of Section. On receipt of these proposals, the appointments were recommended to Council for approval by the Vice-Chancellor, in line with the provisions of Ordinance 7 (14) and Ordinance 8 (15).

Professor Neil Kellard is a Professor of Finance at Essex Business School. Previously he was Dean, Interim Dean, Deputy Director, member of the Senior Management Team and Head of the Finance Group for Essex Business School. Neil has also been a member of Academic Staffing Committee at the University of Essex and has held several external positions including Chair of the UK’s Conference of Professors of Accounting and Finance (CPAF) and Methodologist at the Chartered Association of Business Schools' (CABS) International Guide to Academic Journal Quality.

Professor Kellard is also an Honorary Academic Fellow at the Centre for Responsible Banking and Finance, University of St Andrews, an Advisory Editor for the International Journal of Finance, an Associate Editor for the European Journal of Finance, and an Editorial Board member for the British Journal of Management.

Professor Graham Underwood joined the (then) Department of Biology at the University in 1992. He is a marine and freshwater biologist, conducting research into microbial ecology, biogeochemistry and the response of environments to environmental and man-made impacts. He was promoted to Professor in 2004.

Professor Underwood was Head of the School of Biological Sciences between 2008 and 2011, and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Health from 2013 to 2019. During that time, he oversaw the establishment of the School of Sports, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, the building of the STEM Building on Square 1, and significant expansion of the faculty’s departments and their research and teaching infrastructure. He has been Chair of NERC's Science Committee and currently Chairs the cross-UK government Blue Carbon Evidence Partnership.

Anthony Forster, Vice-Chancellor, said: “Professor Kellard and Professor Underwood are esteemed members of our university community. They will both bring a wealth of experience, and a proven track record of excellence in leadership and academic achievement. I am confident that Neil and Graham will have a demonstrable impact on the University’s senior leadership team and continue to drive our institution forward during this period of transition.”

As a result of these appointments, all positions on the University Steering Group for the 2024/25 academic year have been filled. Please join me in congratulating Professor Kellard and Professor Underwood on their appointments.