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UAL appoints Heather Francis as Chief Operating Officer and Professor Roni Brown as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education)

Heather Francis (left) and Roni Brown (right)
  • Written byFarah Chowdhury
  • Published date07 September 2021
Heather Francis (left) and Roni Brown (right)
Heather Francis (left) and Roni Brown (right)

University of the Arts London (UAL) has announced the appointment of Heather Francis as Chief Operating Officer and Professor Roni Brown as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education). They will take up their new positions in October.

As Chief Operating Officer, Heather's remit will expand from her existing responsibilities for Finance, Legal and Estates to encompass Student Marketing & Recruitment, Admissions and the Academic Registry.

Heather Francis currently serves as Chief Financial Officer at UAL, having joined the University in 2019. She previously worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum where she was Director of Finance and Resources, prior to this she worked at Save the Children International.

As Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), Roni Brown will have oversight of the UAL Colleges, supporting the development and co-ordination of creative education across all six UAL colleges. The role includes responsibility for the Teaching and Learning Exchange, Further Education, Outreach, International, Library and Student Support Services and the University Central Planning Unit will also move into this area.

Professor Roni Brown joined UAL in 2019 as Head of London College of Fashion (LCF) and Pro Vice Chancellor. Before joining LCF, Roni was Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Visual & Educational Cultures at University for the Creative Arts, where she led their academic strategy.

James Purnell, President & Vice-Chancellor of UAL, said: 

“Heather and Roni bring a wealth of knowledge and insights to these new roles. I look forward to continuing to work closely with them to build a UAL that delivers our social purpose, serving our students and society.”

Heather Francis said:

“I am delighted to be taking up the role of COO at such a crucial point in UAL's planning for the future. Since joining the University, I have been inspired by the creativity of our staff and students and look forward to working with our professional service teams and our Colleges to further develop an integrated set of services to support our ambitions.”

Professor Roni Brown said:

“It is a massive privilege to take on this role and to work with colleagues across the Colleges to develop our new strategy for creative education for the next 10 years. My new role will mean a close connection to all Colleges of UAL, as the advocate for the teaching and student community across the University.”

In July, UAL announced the appointment of Chris Condron, Chief Digital Officer, and Professor David Mba, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Knowledge Exchange & Enterprise).

UAL will now undertake external recruitment for the role of Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of College for London College of Fashion.

Following Natalie Brett’s retirement as Head of College for London College of Communication, UAL will also begin recruitment for the role of Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of College for London College of Communication.