University of Wales Newport vice-chancellor Peter Noyes to stand down
The vice-chancellor of the University of Wales Newport is to stand down for personal reasons.
Dr Peter Noyes had recently claimed there was a "conspiracy" to force the university to merge with two others.
The chair of governors praised his "outstanding leadership" during which a new city centre campus was created.
Dr Noyes said: "I am very sorry to be leaving an institution and a role I have loved but my family must come first at a time like this."
He will step down in July after 16 years at the university, the last six of which he has spent as vice-chancellor.Differing visions
Dr Noyes has spoken of his concern over new finance arrangements by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (Hefcw) which could mean 20% fewer students next year.
He has been critical of what he called a "conspiracy" against Newport to "force us into a merged situation with the two other institutions," the University of Glamorgan and Cardiff Metropolitan University.
The mission of the University of Wales Newport is to widen participation, drive economic growth and improve opportunities for communities in south east Wales.
As vice-chancellor, Dr Peter Noyes believes in that vision.
And when it comes to talk of a merger with Cardiff Metropolitan and Glamorgan, he's used that vision to promote Newport's rather different idea about how higher education should look in the region.
He talks of a brand new institution. Not a merger of existing parts. An opportunity, he says, to do things differently.
Dr Noyes says the university won't countenance anything that falls short of that, or that puts their mission at risk.
His departure comes at a pivotal moment in the talks. He'll want to ensure his successor shares that vision for the future.
He has said his preference would be the creation of a new entrepreneurial university for the region rather than a merger of existing institutions.
In April, Newport learned it would lose 300 student places - a cut of 20% - in a new funding structure.
Dr Noyes said at the time that he believed it was a move to force the university to merge.
Speaking about his decision to step down, he said: "I am sorry to be leaving in such circumstances and at such a critical time for the university. However I need to put all my focus on my personal life.
"It's the right decision for me but also for Newport. The institution needs someone who can give its future, and particularly the delivery of a new university for the region, their full attention.
"It's been an honour and a privilege to work with staff and students at Newport. I've learnt a lot and enjoyed my time here immensely.
"But to continue as vice-chancellor at the present time would not be fair on my family or on those who work so hard to deliver Newport's mission of widening access and social justice."'Huge turmoil'
Dr Noyes, a chartered psychologist, held academic posts at the universities of Bristol and Gloucester before moving to Newport.
He also sits on the board of Newport Unlimited, the city's urban regeneration company.
Andrew Wilkinson, chairman of the board of governors at the university, said: "Peter has provided outstanding leadership in a period of huge turmoil and the demands placed on him personally have been massive.
"The university owes him a huge debt of gratitude and we have total respect for the leadership he has provided.
"We will now seek to build on Peter's legacy and ensure the university continues to move forward and retain the momentum we have gained as a result of his tenure."