In an email sent to staff on Monday 11 June, Prof Cheryl de la Rey announced she will be stepping down from her position as Vice Chancellor and Principal at the end of this year. Her contract was set to end in 2021.
Prof De la Rey’s early departure follows her acceptance of an offer to lead the University of Canterbury, New Zealand from 2019.
In her email to staff Prof De la Rey said, “After nine years at the helm of the University of Pretoria, I believe that, together with you, we have delivered on almost all the objectives I had set at the beginning of my tenure. The University has enhanced its academic stature, improved its international ranking, made significant strides in transforming its staff and student demographics, expanded and renewed its physical infrastructure and is in a sound financial position. Overall, I have experienced a very satisfying journey as the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria.”
Prof De la Rey was appointed as UP’s 12th Vice Chancellor and Principal in November 2009 following Prof Callie Pistorius who served in the position from 2001. In 2014 she was re-appointed for a second term which would’ve ended in 2021.
“It is with sadness that the University of Pretoria takes note of the VC’s decision to step down in favour of a new role” says Rikus Delport, University or Pretoria spokesperson. “We are proud of her achievement and for the recognition she has received by being elected to lead an international institution” says Delport.
The process for the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal will be dealt with in terms of the approved regulation and procedure. The Human Resources Committee of Council (HRCC) is responsible for setting a time frame for this process and are scheduled to meet next month. Council, Senate, and the Institutional Forum (IF) are key stakeholders in the process.
Once candidates have been identified and interviewed, the Senate and IF will vote on their suitability and the Joint Committee of Council, which consists of both HRCC and Standing Committee of Council members, will make a recommendation for the appointment. The appointment of the new Vice-Chancellor and Principal will be made by the Council.

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