UCL News


UCL appoints new Chief Operating Officer

24 October 2018

Following a global search, we are delighted to announce that Fiona Ryland will be UCL's Chief Operating Officer from 1 January 2019, following Rex Knight's retirement in December.

Fiona Ryland

The new COO role has responsibility for key professional services teams including Human Resources, Finance and Business Affairs, Legal Services, Estates and Information Services Division.

As part of her new remit, Fiona will take over as co-sponsor of the Transforming Our Professional Services (TOPS) programme along with Professor Anthony Smith. This includes the Professional Services Hub initiative, which was announced in June 2018.

Fiona joined UCL in April 2017 as Executive Director of Human Resources and a member of UCL's Senior Management Team.

In this role, she has successfully built a diverse and talented leadership team that will deliver our new and ambitious HR strategy.

Fiona Ryland commented: "I'm passionate about providing meaningful careers for staff with fair and transparent development and promotion opportunities. As COO, I have the fantastic opportunity to lead very talented and dedicated teams and I very much look forward to supporting them to deliver a truly excellent service to UCL."

UCL President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur, said: "I'm delighted to welcome Fiona as UCL's first COO. She has demonstrated outstanding leadership and strategic vision as Executive Director of Human Resources, and with Rex Knight's departure as Vice-Provost (Operations) in December, she will be pivotal in shaping the future of Professional Services at UCL.

"As COO, Fiona will draw on her extensive expertise and ambition to ensure Professional Services is recognised and valued for its excellent delivery in supporting UCL's academic mission and the UCL 2034 strategy, and I know the UCL community will support her in achieving this."

Prior to joining UCL, Fiona looked after the HR, Communications, Corporate Responsibility and Business Excellence teams for Compass Group UK & Ireland, a community of 60,000 people and the UK's leading provider of catering and support services.

Fiona also has extensive experience of HR management at retailers including Comet, Dixons and Asda, where she established new apprenticeship and graduate programmes to benefit young people and early career colleagues.  

Once Fiona starts as COO, her current role will be filled by an interim until a permanent a successor is appointed.


· Fiona Ryland