Charles Sturt U goes outside the sector for new VC

After a protracted search, CSU appoints former public servant Renée Leon as vice chancellor

Ms Leon will start today weekNow consulting, she is a former head of employment services of the Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment and of the Department of Human Services. Ms Leon describes herself as an “experienced CEO with over 15 years in senior executive roles, including as head of large and complex organisations with multi-billion dollar budgets.”

How to address her: Whether Ms Leon (BA, LLb ANU, LLM Camb) will take a university title is undecided. The university tells CMM the CSU council will announce a decision by her first day on the job.  In July Mark Scott, also from the public sector, became a Uni Sydney professor of practise on becoming VC there.

It took a while: Ms Leon’s appointment ends an extraordinary time at CSU. Former VC Andrew Vann went on sabbatical in June 2020, with his job advertised that month – applications closed at its end (CMM June 19 2020).  He formally left last December but DVC A and Provost, John Germov had long stepped up, first as acting and then “interim” VC (CMM February 10 2021).

In May this year CSU announced it had appointed a search firm and that an announcement was expected this month (CMM May 10) – which has happened.

Professor Germov will now return to his substantive roles.

What Ms Leon inherits: Professor Germov has done a great deal of difficult work. Staff cuts and course closures last year (CMM September 17 2020) more than halved a projected $49.5m deficit (CMM June 18 2020) – in the end the university reported a positive net result for 2020 (CMM June21).

It cost the university political skin in regional centres (CMM October 21 and November 5 2020) but no one will blame Ms Leon.