Who is the University of Southampton's New Vice-Chancellor?

The University of Southampton has announced that Professor Sir Christopher Snowden will be taking over the position of Vice-Chancellor effective from Don Nutbeam’s retirement. Professor Snowden is currently the Vice-Chancellor […]


The University of Southampton has announced that Professor Sir Christopher Snowden will be taking over the position of Vice-Chancellor effective from Don Nutbeam’s retirement.

snowden vice chancellor

Professor Snowden is currently the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey, a role he has held since 2005, and has overseen a period of steady growth, with Surrey establishing themselves in the top ten of the Guardian’s University League Table in 2014 and 2015.

He is also serving as the President of the University UK group, who recently made headlines for their criticism of the Labour Party’s plan to reduce tuition fees if elected, with Snowden the main signatory on a letter insisting the plan would “damage the economy, affect the quality of students’ education, and set back work on widening access to higher education”.

In 2014 he was named by the BBC as one of Britain’s highest earning University bosses, pocketing £392,000 for the previous year.

The University of Southampton have not yet disclosed any information about Snowden’s salary, but with Don Nutbeam earning a basic annual salary of £252,000, along with a performance bonus and pension contribution of around £40,000 each, it is expected his replacement will not have come cheap.

He was also part of a group criticised by the UCU in 2014 for taking a payrise of 2.8% while “refusing to offer staff more than 1%”. Furthermore, the University of Surrey was named by the UCU as one of the institutions threatening to “dock a full day’s pay” from staff involved in strike action.

In a statement released by the University, Professor Snowden said:

I am honoured and delighted to be joining the University of Southampton as its Vice-Chancellor and look forward to building on its strong international reputation to achieve even greater success in the future.

Gill Rider, the University’s Chair of Council hailed the appointment as the “perfect choice”, heralding a “bright and successful future in which we are ‘changing the world for the better’.”

Alastair, a student at the University of Surrey, told the Soton Tab:

Most students have never seen nor heard from him, to the best of my knowledge. Although I’ve seen him in a few course rep meetings, he’s generally effective and involved, but maybe he’s off too look for a challenge.

What do you think of the appointment? Let us know in the comments below!