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Professor Rod Coombs to retire as Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor

06 Mar 2014

Professor Rod Coombs, Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University since 1 August 2010, has announced he is to retire in September 2014.

Professor Rod Coombs

Professor Coombs is responsible for supporting the President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, across the full range of the duties involved in the direction and leadership of the University and has particular responsibility for external engagement and internationalisation.

His successor as Deputy President and Vice-Chancellor will be chosen through an internal appointment process.

Professor Coombs has a BSc in Physics, and MSc and PhD degrees in the economics of innovation and technical change. He worked for over 25 years on analysing the role of technical change in the economy; the management of R&D and innovation processes in large companies; and the role of government policy in promoting innovation in the economy. For much of that time he was in the School of Management at UMIST, becoming its first Professor of Technology Management in 1993. Together with other colleagues he was a founder member of the Institute of Innovation Research (in MBS) at Manchester which has become one of the leading such centres in the world.

In 2002 he became a Pro-Vice-Chancellor of UMIST, and thereafter was a member of the project team which brought together UMIST with the former Victoria University of Manchester. In 2004, he was appointed as one of the Vice-Presidents of the new University and had responsibility for various aspects of Knowledge Transfer, Research and External Relationships.

Professor Coombs will continue his association with the University on a part-time basis with responsibility for delivering  a range of special projects to be determined by the President and Vice-Chancellor.

Commenting on his decision Professor Coombs said: It has been a privilege to have been involved in the creation and development of our University over the past 10 years and to support first Alan Gilbert and then Nancy   with the realisation of their ambitious agendas. I am especially proud of the role that I have played with many other colleagues in firmly establishing the reputation of the University both locally and internationally.”

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell said: “Rod has served the University with distinction for nearly 40 years. He has held a number of senior positions and in particular has played a key role in advancing the commercialisation agenda and in positioning the University as a major force in the City, region and the international higher education scene.  I am personally delighted that we will continue to benefit from Rod’s experience and expertise.”