Plymouth University vice-chancellor suspended

Wendy Purcell Professor Wendy Purcell has been vice-chancellor and chief executive of the university since 2007

The vice-chancellor of Plymouth University has been suspended pending a review.

Analysis

I understand that there is no suggestion of gross misconduct, or dishonesty, or of what was described to me as "impropriety".

Clearly there are serious concerns of some sort, or Professor Purcell wouldn't have been suspended.

But this does help to clarify things, because until now there was no hint at all as to why she had been "placed on leave".

What should we make of this?

Some business leaders are concerned that if the university looks shaky at the top, the impressive investment that's been going on there could start to dry up.

On the other hand, the South West Devon MP Gary Streeter told us that he trusts the governors completely, and if there's a process to be gone through, he's happy for them to go through it.

University governors said Wendy Purcell's position was unchanged and her deputy, Professor David Coslett, would temporarily act up.

The BBC understands there has been a "serious clash of personalities".

The governors said they were not able to go into any more detail during the review, asking for the "confidentiality of the situation to be respected".

Professor Purcell, who earned more than £288,000 in 2013, was a graduate of Plymouth University in 1985 with a degree in biological science.

She was appointed vice-chancellor and chief executive of the university in December 2007.

A university statement said: "As you would expect from a world-ranked university with a strong and distinguished reputation, the executive team will ensure core business continues to be focused on the delivery of a first-class experience for our students.

"We also continue to work with partners and stakeholders for the benefit and interests of the city and wider region."

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