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John Holden appointed as Associate Vice-President for Major Special Projects

30 Oct 2019

We are pleased to announce the appointment of John Holden as our Associate Vice-President for Major Special Projects

John Holden

John is currently with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) as their Assistant Director, Strategy/Research. 

John’s primary responsibilities will be to support our University in major external bids relating to our key strategic goals, principally bids to regional and national government and to private, commercial and charitable organisations in the UK and globally.

John will also assist with our goal to locate major national and international activities in Manchester and the city region; in particular he will play a prominent role in working with the Government on these and, where appropriate, will co-ordinate other external documents and bids.

John’s new role will require close working with many staff, particularly leaders in External Relations and Reputation, Research and Business Engagement, Student Experience, Planning, Communications and Marketing, Estates and Facilities, Development and Alumni. 

In addition, John will collaborate with leaders of cross-University initiatives, such as Digital Futures, graphene commercialisation, UMI3 and our initiatives in Creative Manchester and environment, and with a wide range of external stakeholders. 

He will have dual reporting to President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nancy Rothwell (and her designate, Professor Luke Georghiou, Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor) and to the Registrar, Secretary and Chief Operating Officer, Patrick Hackett.

In his current role, John has overall responsibility for cross-cutting strategy and co-ordination work, with a specific focus on the development, implementation, and monitoring of the Greater Manchester Strategy and the Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy. He has extensive regional and national policy experience, with expertise in devolved regional matters, including a secondment in 2017 to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to advise on local growth policy and support the design of the place element of the national industrial strategy. Most recently he led the Greater Manchester Independent Prosperity Review and the development of one of the UK's first Local Industrial Strategies.  His career also includes a significant period of time in senior strategy and research roles at the New Economy think tank, where his work included numerous projects promoting regional growth and prosperity, including on the Northern Powerhouse.

An alumnus of our University, John studied here from 1999-2003, achieving the MA in International Political Economy and a BA (Hons) Economic and Social Studies (First Class). He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Finance (Economic Policy) – (Merit) from the Centre for Financial and Management Studies, University of London.

Commenting on John’s appointment, Professor Nancy Rothwell said: “I am delighted that we have secured a senior policy and projects leader of John’s calibre and, having had the privilege of working with him on the Local Industrial Strategy, I am confident that he will bring his considerable abilities to bear on our major strategic projects and be a huge asset to the University.

“Please join me in welcoming John to the University and I am sure we all look forward to working with him in his new role and benefitting from the expertise he will bring.”

John said of his new role: “I am really looking forward to joining the University in a role I see as critical to success at an important time for the institution and the city region. 

“The University has many opportunities, including areas such as advanced materials and health innovation and realising the potential of internationally significant developments like ID Manchester. These are all vital to the future of the University; delivering on the new Vision and Strategic Plan and the Local Industrial Strategy. It’s very exciting to have the opportunity to play a part in realising the potential of those initiatives and support the delivery of strategic projects across the University.”

John will start his new position on 6 January 2020.