The University of Birmingham announced today [Monday 14 July] that Lee Sanders, from Durham University, has been appointed to the post of Registrar and Secretary.

As Registrar and Secretary, Mr Sanders will be charged with heading up the University’s unified administration and support services of 3,500 members of staff across central services and academic Colleges, and takes up his new role on 6 October 2008.  He will lead the team of senior administrative officers in crucial areas such as finance, estates, hospitality and accommodation services, human resources, academic services, development and alumni relations, planning, corporate relations, IT services and legal services, to ensure the smooth-running of the University.

Mr Sanders is currently Registrar and Secretary at Durham University, its Chief Operating Officer responsible to the Vice-Chancellor for university business, a post he has held since March 2003.  During a period of significant change, Lee has made major contributions to the development of Durham, which is now consistently ranked in the top 10 in the UK.  Key contributions include the design and implementation of a new University strategy, support for Durham’s new organisational structure, a major University strategic and financial improvement programme, enhancing the corporate services and their leadership, and a drive to raise Durham’s external profile.

Lee Sanders is an historian by academic background, studying at both undergraduate and postgraduate level at the University of Manchester. He joined the University of Warwick in 1990 where he held a wide range of management posts including Secretary to the Warwick Graduate School, Director of Research and Development Services and, from 1999, Academic Registrar with responsibilities for academic policy support, resource allocation, strategic planning and student administration.

On the subject of his appointment to Birmingham, Lee Sanders, said:

“I am absolutely delighted and honoured to be joining the University of Birmingham.  It’s a great University in a great part of the world. With its academic and financial strengths and its new organisational structure, Birmingham is very well placed to meet the challenges facing higher education and to enhance its national and international standing as a leading university.

“I am excited about joining the excellent team at Birmingham and look forward to working with colleagues to contribute to the University’s bright future ”.

The Registrar and Secretary will come to the top decision-making table - the

Vice-Chancellor’s new University Executive Board - along with the five Heads of Colleges, Vice-Principal, Pro-Vice-Chancellors and Directors of Finance and HR. 

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, Professor Michael Sterling, said:

“I am delighted to have secured Lee Sanders to the role of Registrar and Secretary.  We were looking for a high-quality candidate with significant leadership and management skills, who could handle a challenging portfolio of responsibilities across financial, people and planning issues.  We have certainly found this in Lee.

“Lee’s proven track record of leadership in a higher education context, managing a complex administration that must be quick to respond to emerging national and global trends, was highly attractive to us, and I look forward to working with Lee to deliver the University’s bold ambitions for the future.”

Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, Professor Chris Higgins, said:  "We are very sorry indeed to lose Lee, who has made major contributions to the governance of Durham University over the past six years. 

"Personally, he has been a particular support to me in the transition between Vice-Chancellors.  We wish him all the very best in his new role."


Notes to Editors

A portrait photograph of Lee Sanders is available from the press office.  Please call 0121 414 2772.

Mini biography of Lee Sanders:

• Currently Registrar and Secretary at the University of Durham, position held since March 2003.

• Held various posts at the University of Warwick from 1990 to 2003, including Academic Registrar, Director of Research and Development Office and Secretary to the Warwick Graduate School

• Secretary to 3 RAE Panels in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise, and managed Warwick’s RAE submission.

• University of Manchester graduate, studying History and Medieval History at undergraduate and postgraduate level

• Current membership of national committees include the Executive Committee of the Association of Heads of University Administration, and the Universities UK Task Force on Strategic Procurement

• Lee is married to Sarah and they have a little boy, Oscar.

• Interests include history, sport (especially cricket and football), music and the arts and cooking.

The University of Birmingham:

The University of Birmingham is a truly vibrant, global community and an internationally-renowned institution. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than four thousand international students from nearly 150 different countries.

The University is home to more than 30,000 students. With more than 7,500 postgraduate students from across the world, Birmingham is one of the most popular universities for postgraduate study in the UK.

The University has been at the forefront of research and innovation and is currently ranked 5th in the UK for research excellence.  Seven subject areas received a 6* rating, the highest accolade awarded in the RAE. These are: Anatomy, Chemical Engineering, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Languages, Metallurgy and Materials, Russian and East European Studies, Sport and Exercise Sciences and West African Studies. in 2005-06 the University’s research income exceeded £76 million, representing more than 46% of higher education research and development income to the region.

The University is the eighth largest employer in the Birmingham/Solihull sub-region and plays an integral role in the economic, social and cultural growth of local and regional communities; working closely with businesses and organisations, employing approximately 6,000 staff and providing 10,000 graduates annually. 

The University contributes £662 million to the City of Birmingham and £779 million to the West Midlands region, with an annual income of more than £388.6 million.

Further information

Rachel Burrows - Head of Communications, University of Birmingham

tel: 0121 414 6681 / mob: 07789 921165 /

Claire Whitelaw – Media and Public Affairs Manager, Durham University

tel: 0191 334 6803 / email: