Global search launched as Aberdeen University principal steps down

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A “global search” is being launched to secure a new boss at Aberdeen University following the retirement of Sir Ian Diamond.

Sir Ian announced that he was stepping down from his position as principal and vice-chancellor yesterday, following more than seven years at the helm.

Sir Ian Diamond

The 63-year-old said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as principal, and I am fortunate to have led a dedicated team of colleagues in every corner of this great institution.

“The university is in very good shape and I believe the time is now right for my successor to build on the firm foundations with which I leave it.”

The school’s senior governor, Martin Gilbert, vowed to look high and wide for a worthy replacement.

He said: “Sir Ian has been an outstanding principal who has taken on many difficult challenges and accomplished a great deal over the last seven and a half years.”

Sir Ian will remain in charge of the university until his successor arrives.

Yesterday, staff celebrated some of the highlights of his time as principal.

The departing leader helped pioneer strategies aimed at reducing the number of students dropping out.

And he has been credited with making the 15th century institution more international, by forging partnerships with Wuhan University in China and Curtin University in Australia.

He also played a leading role in establishing overseas campuses in Korea and Qatar and helped increase the number of students from abroad choosing to study in Aberdeen.

Sir Ian was involved with the creation of a mental health strategy formed in the wake of student Emily Drouet’s death last March.

The 18-year-old law student committed suicide in her halls of residence after undergoing weeks of abuse from boyfriend Angus Milligan - who was later sentenced to 180 hours of community service.

A campus spokeswoman said the wellbeing strategy would put the mental health of students “at the top of the agenda”.

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