Peterborough university appoints head of governors

A new head of governors has been appointed at ARU Peterborough.

By Stephen Briggs
Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 1:57 pm
Rob Behrens
Rob Behrens

The university will open later this year, and today (Tuesday) senior public servant Rob Behrens CBE has been confirmed as the chair of governors.

Mr Behrens has been Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in the UK since 2017. Earlier in his career, he was a Cabinet Office civil servant working on international public service reform and standards in public life. During this time he was personally thanked by Nelson Mandela for his contribution to the construction of a post-apartheid public service in South Africa.

He was awarded a CBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours List for his services to higher education, having been the independent adjudicator for the sector in England and Wales since 2008.

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Mr Behrens said: “The establishment of ARU Peterborough is a significant moment for higher education in England, and particularly for the city of Peterborough. It is an honour to be taking on the role of Chair of the Board of Governors, and I am excited to be working with the rest of the Board to establish ARU Peterborough as an ambitious, forward-thinking institution that will transform lives and increase skills levels across the region.”

Joining Mr Behrens on the Board of Governors are several prominent figures from the public and private sector.

Among the new Board members are Chief Nurse of North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, Joanne Bennis; Group Chief Executive Officer at Amino Communications, Donald McGarva; prominent educationalist and deputy chair of ARU’s Board of Governors, Dr Margaret Wilson; Executive Director for Place and Economy at Peterborough City Council, Adrian Chapman; Chief Executive of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Eileen Milner; and Chartered accountant Bill Gregory, who has 25 years of experience as a director of finance in healthcare for acute hospital, mental health and community service organisations.

A student member will also join the board, along with key members of ARU staff. These include Vice Chancellor Professor Roderick Watkins, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Professor Yvonne Barnett, and ARU’s Head of School for Psychology and Sport Science, Dr Helen Keyes.

Professor Ross Renton, Principal of ARU Peterborough, said: “The new Board of Governors for ARU Peterborough has been chosen carefully to ensure that the new university gets off to the best possible start.

“I am delighted to welcome all Board members and look forward to working with them. They will play a vital role in the establishment of ARU Peterborough, using their diverse skills and experience to maximise opportunities for all.”

ARU Peterborough is a partnership between the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Peterborough City Council and Anglia Ruskin University and will open in September this year.