The Vice-Chancellor of Bangor University, Professor John G. Hughes, who was due to retire next August, has announced that he will be leaving the university at the end of December.

Chair of Council, Marian Wyn Jones said: “Given the number of challenges currently facing the University, many of which affect its strategy, direction and long-term success, we concluded that it would be in the university’s best interests for those issues to be dealt with by a team which will be able to see through the changes, not only during the forthcoming months, but crucially also into the next academic year.

“As a result, Professor Hughes has agreed to step aside sooner than announced, and will be leaving at the end of December.”

As previously announced, the University will shortly be advertising for a successor. In the meantime Professor Graham Upton will be appointed as Interim Vice-Chancellor from 1 January, and will be stepping down from his role as a Council member.

Professor Upton is a highly experienced Vice-Chancellor who led Oxford Brookes University for 10 years. Prior to that he was a Pro Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham University and a Dean and Head of School at Cardiff University. More recently, he was Interim Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University.

Having spent his childhood in Australia, he studied for his PhD at Cardiff and his academic expertise is in the field of Education Psychology and Special Educational Needs.

Some University staff received a Section 188 ‘Potential for Redundancies’ letter last week and unions fear that between 50-60 staff could be made redundant at the University over the next three years.

The University informed staff in October that they need to save £5m this academic year and compulsory redundancies could not be ruled out.

The financial shortfall has been blamed the rising costs of pension provision, pay increases and the impact of falling enrolments.