UCLan appoints new group chief executive

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) Group has appointed Richard Hext as its new group chief executive.

Richard Hext - portraitRichard 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.

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, said: “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.”

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.