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Leeds Metropolitan announces new Chancellor


Sir Bob Murray CBE is to become the new Chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University, it has been announced.

Sir Bob Murray on the phone

Sir Bob, a businessman, philanthropist, and passionate supporter of education, will be officially installed as Chancellor at a formal ceremony at the university early next year.

Sir Bob has been a leading business figure in Yorkshire for the last 43 years but is probably best known for his chairmanship of Sunderland AFC during which he developed the Stadium of Light.

He is also heavily involved with charitable causes and education: he is co-sponsor of Academy 360 which educates 4-16 year olds and aims to break cycles of educational underachievement and he set up the pioneering Foundation of Light charity to bring benefits to the community in the north east and beyond.

Sir Bob's connection to Leeds Met dates back to 1969 when he moved to Yorkshire to study accountancy at the University's predecessor institution, Leeds Polytechnic. Some years later, in 2008, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in business administration by Leeds Metropolitan for his contribution to business and sport.

Sir Bob MurraySir Bob said: "I feel very privileged to have been invited to become the Chancellor of such an esteemed institution as Leeds Metropolitan University and was thrilled to accept. It is a highly-respected University that plays such an important role in developing the potential and talent of thousands of students from many different parts of the world.

"As a former graduate and as someone who has worked in Yorkshire for more than 40 years it will be a great honour to take on such a leading role with the University. I hope my experience and track record in business, lifelong focus on education, and passion for sport will give me the necessary qualities to support the University, its outstanding staff and the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals to achieve their ambitious and exciting aspirations."

Professor Susan Price, Vice Chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan, said: "We are delighted that Sir Bob is to become Chancellor of our University. Sir Bob shares our core values and is passionate about both education and making a difference to people in their communities. We are proud of so many things here at our university: 9 out of 10 of our graduates are in work or continuing their studies within 6 months of leaving us; we have achieved our best ever student satisfaction ratings this year, and our newly launched Research Institutes showcase our internationally recognised research, making a difference to real life issues such as men's health and sustainable futures. Myself and my colleagues are really looking forward to working with Sir Bob and I know he will be a fantastic champion for our university."

After studying at Leeds Polytechnic, Bob joined Wetherby-based kitchen manufacturers George A Moore as a Financial Accountant and in 1973 was headhunted by Ladyship Industrial Holdings and moved to Gower Furniture in Halifax as General Manager. He progressed quickly within the company and was appointed Holding Company Director of Ladyship in 1975 as well as sitting on various subsidiary boards.

In 1978, Bob co-founded Spring Ram, a company which targeted the home improvement market and by 1989 was seeing profits of £22 million a year. At the height of its success Sir Bob left the helm and within two years, he had founded two new companies, Omega PLC and Sterling Capitol PLC, which reflected two of Spring Ram's interests, kitchens and property. He was also appointed a non-executive director of the multi-national conglomerate FKI Group based in Halifax from 1990-2000, and on the Yorkshire Board of the Year twice with two different companies.

Sir Bob is currently non-executive Chairman of Omega PLC, the Yorkshire-based branded kitchen manufacturer, and Sterling Capitol PLC, a property development and investment company with headquarters in Leeds city centre.

A devoted fan of Sunderland Football Club, Sir Bob became chairman in 1986 and spearheaded the club's move to the purpose-built Stadium of Light in 1997. The Academy of Light, Sunderland's training ground, which was recently awarded Category One status - the highest possible rating under the new EPPP (Elite Player Performance Plan) system - was similarly driven by Sir Bob's determination for Sunderland to be able to perform and compete at the highest level.

In 2002, during his time as Chairman of Sunderland AFC, Sir Bob was invited by the Government to join the Board of Wembley. In the 12 months he was involved the stadium funding was secured and completed and the contract placed to build Wembley. Sir Bob also played an instrumental role in awarding £40m per year to develop stadium facilities across the country as a board member of the Football Foundation.

In 2006, he sold the club to Niall Quinn and a consortium of Irish investors and was appointed Life President by the new owners.

Sir Bob Murray with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the opening of St Georges Park
Sir Bob Murray pictured with the Duke and Duchess of
Cambridge at the opening of St St Georges Park

In 2008, he was appointed Project Director by the Football Association for its new £100m National Football Centre, St George's Park, which was officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last week.

He also played a pivotal role in the project to build The Aquatic Centre adjacent to the Stadium of Light.

His desire to create a learning legacy and his passion for social inclusion led to the establishment of the Foundation of Light, the registered charity, which harnesses the power of football to increase the motivation, educational attainment and personal skills of young people throughout the North. The innovative and ground-breaking work of the Foundation of Light is recognised nationally and it is now the biggest football charity in the United Kingdom.

Sir Bob was awarded a CBE in 2002 and knighted in the Queen's birthday honours in 2010 for his services to football, charity and education. In October 2011, Sir Bob was awarded the Honorary Freedom of the City of Sunderland.

He and his wife Sue who was born in Leeds have three children: Alexandra, 27, Nicole, 25 and James, 22.

For more information about Sir Bob please visit his website atwww.sirbobmurray.com


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