New chief executive confirmed for Scottish Agricultural College

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The Board of SAC (Scottish Agricultural College) have confirmed the appointment of Professor Bob Webb as its new Chief Executive and Principal, with effect from April 1 this year.

Professor Webb, who is currently a Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham, will succeed Professor Bill McKelvey who stands down from his role as SAC’s Chief Executive and Principal at the end of this month.

Professor Webb is a leading animal scientist and a respected authority on agricultural and veterinary research, both in the UK and internationally. He is currently Professor of Animal Science at the University of Nottingham and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, with responsibility for the Faculty of Engineering. Before becoming Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Webb was Head of the University’s School of Biosciences then Dean of the Faculty of Science.

Professor Webb admitted his pride at landing the job. He said: “I am both honoured and delighted to become the next Chief Executive and Principal of the Scottish Agricultural College. SAC, as the only agriculturally-focused HEI within Scotland, is uniquely placed within the agriculture sector and rural communities.

“In this regard, SAC will have an increasingly significant role both nationally and internationally in combating the current global challenges which include food security and quality, environmental issues and economic sustainability of farming.

“These global challenges however, also present exciting opportunities because of the central importance of agriculture, both nationally and internationally. As the new Chief Executive I look forward to working with colleagues at SAC to build on the undoubted strengths of research, learning and teaching and commercial innovation that already exist to make both Scottish and UK agriculture more sustainable, while addressing environmental impact.”

Speaking of Professor Webb’s appointment, SAC Chairman Lord Jamie Lindsay commented: “Bob Webb is an excellent and well-timed appointment, with SAC strategically poised to develop a number of major opportunities within and beyond Scotland.

“Bob brings a wealth of expertise and experience in successfully delivering high-level initiatives and partnerships at both a national and an international level. His academic credentials and management skills speak for themselves and I am confident that we have the right man to take SAC onwards and upwards, building on the legacy of Bill McKelvey’s impressive achievements.

“Bob’s pedigree and track-record, and his proven skills in developing synergies and collaborative ventures, made him an outstanding candidate during a rigorous recruitment process that attracted accomplished candidates from around the world. I am therefore delighted to welcome Bob as our new Chief Executive and Principal and have no doubt that his strategic vision and experience will enable SAC to continue to go from strength to strength.”

Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham said: “Professor Bob Webb has given outstanding service to the University of Nottingham, both as a distinguished scientist and in a range of leadership roles, including Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research. His professional background and managerial experience make him the ideal candidate for Chief Executive and Principal of the SAC. I am confident that SAC will flourish under his stewardship and expect current collaborations between Nottingham and SAC to prosper and grow. I have the highest regard for Professor Webb and wish him every success in his new role.”

SAC’s Director of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Janet Swadling, will be acting Chief Executive and Principal when Professor McKelvey steps down until Professor Webb takes up his post.