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Canterbury Christ Church University appoint Rama Thirunamachandran as replacement for Prof Robin Baker

New vice-chancellor Rama Thinuramachandran
New vice-chancellor Rama Thinuramachandran

Canterbury Christ Church University has appointed its next vice-chancellor – eight months after it removed the last permanent holder of the post in controversial circumstances.

Rama Thirunamachandran replaces Prof Robin Baker, who was forced to resign in October for reasons the university conceals from students, staff and taxpayers.

He will start in Canterbury on October 1 and comes from Keele University in Staffordshire, where he has been a deputy vice-chancellor and provost since 2008.

The Cambridge University graduate said: “Christ Church has transformed over the past 50 years into a university with a distinctive mission and emphasis on public and professional service education with a strong focus on the student experience.

“I feel privileged and honoured to be offered the opportunity to lead the university into the next stage of its development.”

An expert in geography and natural sciences, Mr Thirunamachandran worked with the United Nations on a project exploring flooding in Bangladesh.

From 2002, he was director for research, innovation and skills at the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Christ Church – whose motto is “The Truth Shall Set You Free – has been beset by gossip and innuendo ever since Prof Baker was told to quit in October.

Prof Robin Baker was told to quit last year
Prof Robin Baker was told to quit last year

Chairman of governors Peter Hermitage oversaw the university’s efforts to ensure the reasons for his departure are kept secret.

Prof Baker is understood to have left with several hundred thousand pounds of public money, but Christ Church has refused to reveal how much he received or how much money was spent on lawyers’ fees to negotiate his departure.

Director of strategic resources Andrew Ironside has been the temporary vice-chancellor since Prof Baker left.

Speaking of Mr Thirunamachandran’s appointment, Mr Hermitage said: “The challenges facing universities today require leaders who understand how teaching and research are organised and how large resources are effectively managed.

“In Rama we have a person who has a significant track record in these areas, working with academics and other university staff to meet the needs and expectations of students.

“We are delighted Rama will be joining us in the next academic term and very much look forward to working with him in a university proud of its Anglican foundation.”

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