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Douglas Blackstock confirms intention to step down as QAA Chief Executive

Date: December 3 - 2020

QAA’s Chief Executive, Douglas Blackstock, has confirmed his intention to retire from his role in late 2021.

Douglas’ long-standing intention has been to step down as Chief Executive in 2021, coinciding with his 20th year at QAA, his 60th birthday and the end of his current term. He announced his plans to step down to the QAA Board on 12 November, and QAA staff on 1 December.

Douglas joined QAA in March 2002 as Director of Administration. He later took on the roles of Director of Resources Group and Chief Operating Officer, before becoming Chief Executive in 2015. Douglas has played a critical role in the development and success of QAA, including steering the Agency through a significant period of change for both the Agency and the policy, regulatory and quality landscape across the UK. He has indicated his intention, in collaboration with all QAA colleagues, to use his final months in office to continuing supporting the higher education sector as it deals with the heightened pressures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chair of the QAA Board, Professor Simon Gaskell said, ‘Douglas’s many achievements at the QAA are reflected in the great respect and affection in which he is held across the UK sector. He has led QAA through periods of extreme pressure and challenge with great skill and humanity, establishing a reformed and reinvigorated organisation which continues to serve HE in all four nations of the UK.

‘Douglas’s legacy is therefore very substantial - making his shoes difficult to fill but also ensuring that we will be able to recruit a worthy successor.’

QAA Chief Executive, Douglas Blackstock said, ‘It has been a great privilege to serve as QAA’s Chief Executive during a complex period for UK higher education. I’ve enjoyed working with so many outstanding colleagues, both in QAA and across the higher education sector at home and internationally.

‘Over the next year I have no intention of slowing down as we focus our continued efforts on supporting the UK higher education sector to recover from the impact of COVID-19, working with QAA members to enhance the quality of their provision in the UK, and working with our international partners to build trust and confidence in UK higher education in the post-Brexit world.’

The process of recruitment of a new Chief Executive will begin in early 2021.