Swansea have hired alum Andrew Rhodes, currently Director-General (Operations) at the Department for Work and Pensions, as their new Registrar & Chief Operating Officer. Andrew will have strategic leadership of the central administrative functions of the University, including the Academic Registry, Estates, Finance, Human Resources, Information Services and Systems, Marketing, Planning, the Strategic Projects Unit, and Student Services. In the absence of the Vice-Chancellor he will be responsible for the efficient and effective functioning of the University.
Swansea University has seen remarkable growth and development. They have achieved their ambition to be a top thirty research University, soaring up the 2014 Research Excellence Framework league table to 26th in the UK from 52nd in 2008. Additionally, an ambitious Campus Development Programme is well underway – one of the largest knowledge economy projects in the UK and within the top five in Europe. It involves the creation of the Bay Campus, a brand new £450 million development on the eastern approach to the city, together with the transformation of their existing Singleton Park Campus.
Society undertook a broad search across Higher Education, central and local government and the private sector. The role attracted a diverse field of candidates from a range of backgrounds both within and outwith the education sector.
Andrew Rhodes is an alumnus of Swansea University, graduating with a BA (Hons) degree in History followed by an MPhil. He attained his first managerial position at NTL in 2000, working as a contact centre team leader. He joined PricewaterhouseCoopers as a management consultant in 2001 then worked for Bridgend County Borough Council between 2002 and 2005, before joining the Civil Service at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). He moved to the Food Standards Agency as Director of Operations in 2010 and after two and a half he was appointed as the lead official and Chief Investigating Officer responsible for responding to the 2013 horse meat scandal. In 2015, he joined the Department for Work and Pensions as Benefits Director, soon after being given an expanded remit with 22,000 staff and the management of the largest virtual telephony network in Europe. In March 2016, Andrew was appointed to the post of Director General, Operations which is the largest director general position in the UK Government in terms of staffing. In this role, he was responsible for some 65,000 civil servants, close to one fifth of the entire UK Civil Service, and the delivery of all benefit, pensions, employment and child maintenance services in the UK
Speaking about his engagement with Society, Andrew commented:
“I had not had any dealings with Society before, and I can honestly say it was a highly professional and friendly experience from start to finish. At no time did it feel transactional or like I was some commodity – it felt much more personalised and about finding a good fit. For me, it has resulted in me finding the combination of an outstanding role in a location I genuinely did not think would ever happen in my career. Even if things had not worked out, I would still feel that my engagement with Society was nothing other than entirely positive and pleasant.”