Higher Education

Perrett Laver has the most successful international Higher Education practice in the world, working in more countries than any other firm and having deep expertise, connectivity and reach in every major higher education market.

Higher education transforms societies through its unparalleled ability to create opportunity for students and solve the burning questions of our time through its research and translation.

In every country where we operate, we support the full range of HEIs; ground-breaking technology and design institutions; exceptional high quality teaching oriented universities; world leading conservatoires and artistic centres; private providers focused on professional training and education; top research universities of the world; ambitious next-generations institutions rising rapidly through the league tables.

Where We Can help

As universities continue to diverge between locally transformative, teaching led institutions and global research powerhouses, it will be through having the right leadership that institutions will be able to succeed in an immensely competitive world.

We have advised on over 300 Vice-Chancellor/President searches worldwide – including 7 of the current top 20 universities in the world, and a third of the top 100. By region we have assisted with 29 Russell Group Vice-Chancellor appointments in the UK, including 18 of the current incumbents, two of the top five Asian universities, two of the last four Group of Eight Vice-Chancellor appointments in Australia and the most recent three U15 Presidents in Canada. We are the only firm in the world that has advised upon top 30 Presidencies across North America, Europe and Asia.

Through our work over many years on prominent Presidential and Vice-Chancellor appointments we have developed extremely strong networks and deep relationships with candidates in all international markets.

Senior Academic Leadership

Securing world-leading talent is a major strategic priority for every university. Such hires are core investments for an organisation and it is crucial that the strongest possible appointments are secured across teaching, research and revenue-raising activities. Yet competition for such exceptional talent is high, presenting a key challenge for the sector.

We have advised on the appointment of over 3,000 Senior Academics from Senior Management teams – Provosts, VP, Rectors, Deputy and Pro Vice-Chancellors, Deans of Faculty, Heads of Schools and Directors of Institutes.

Our clients are located in 70 countries and have included over one half of the top 200 universities in the world.

Senior Administrative and Professional Services

We are the leading firm advising on professional service and administration roles for HEIs across all functions including fundraising, communications, finance, human resources, information, estates and operations.

Much of our work here is introducing candidates from other sectors to HEIs, bringing with them modern and innovative models of organisational and administration that help HEIS adapt to a highly marketised faster paced and digital environment.

Funding Bodies Regulators and the Policy Environment

Perrett Laver has also worked extensively with international HE bodies, the leading global charitable funders for research, national and governmental funding bodies, learned societies, policy organisations, and other leading bodies within the sector.

We also work on posts where higher education, and educational agendas more broadly, meet wider government policy and priorities, giving us a genuine breadth of experience and understanding of the wider strategic issues within and across the sector.

Chairs and Professors

Our Global Chairs and Professors practice has developed a rigorous and robust methodology based on our proprietary analytics for identifying, engaging and securing exceptional research talent. In the past few years we have advised on over 1,000 professorial appointments for every discipline imaginable.   

We support global research intensive and research ambitious universities in nearly 50 different countries across six continents. Over half of those appointed through our processes relocate internationally to take on their new post. The global nature of our work is intrinsic to success.

Principally we work on the appointment of full, tenured Professors, many of which are to endowed or named Chairs. We work across the full ranges of disciplines and our specific methodology can be adapted to the particular nuances of each specialism, including, for example, attention to a need for clinical qualifications and expertise, industry engagement or practice-orientation.

We have extensive experience advising upon leadership searches for the world’s leading research centers or institutes, typically at CEO or board level. 

Who to talk to

Recent Higher Education Clients

Recent Higher Education Appointments

Perrett Laver appoints new leadership team as company embarks on next phase of growth

Perrett Laver appoints new leadership team as company embarks on

11th May, 2023: Perrett Laver, the leading purpose-driven international executive search firm, announces the appointment of a new Global Leadership Team to steer the company through its next phase of growth.  Arabella Chichester, Dr Sinead Gibney and Tom Weinberg, will take over from Co-Founders Dan Perrett and Simon Laver, who after 20 years, will transition to non-executive roles in the employee-owned company. Arabella Chichester and Dr Sinead Gibney will be appointed as Global Senior Partners and will be responsible for the long-term strategic development and accelerating commercial growth of the company. Arabella has been at Perrett Laver for twelve years and has been Global Head of the Social…

Prof Wiebke Arlt appointed Director of MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences

Prof Wiebke Arlt appointed Director of MRC London Institute of

The renowned clinical endocrinologist will join MRC LMS from the University of Birmingham on 1 January 2023 Professor Wiebke Arlt has been appointed Director of the Imperial College London-hosted Medical Research Council London Institute of Medical Sciences (LMS). She will formally take up her new position from 1 January 2023. In addition, Professor Arlt will become Head of Imperial’s Institute of Clinical Sciences, one of the eight academic departments that make up the College’s Faculty of Medicine. Wiebke is an award-winning clinical endocrinologist and leader of an international multi-disciplinary research team investigating the links between steroids and metabolic diseases. She will join…

Nomination of candidate for Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge

Nomination of candidate for Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge

Professor Deborah Prentice, the Provost of Princeton University, has been nominated as the next Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge. An eminent psychologist, Professor Prentice has been Provost at Princeton since 2017 with primary responsibility for all academic, budgetary and long-term planning issues.  Professor Prentice joined Princeton as a lecturer in psychology in 1988 and was appointed assistant professor of psychology the following year, after completing a PhD at Yale. She was appointed associate professor in 1995 and professor of psychology in 2000. She became the Alexander Stewart 1886 Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs in 2012 and chaired the Department of Psychology for 12…

Perrett Laver appoints three new Partners

Perrett Laver appoints three new Partners

Leading international executive search firm, Perrett Laver, has announced three new partners – as the business invests in its global talent. Dedicated to supporting the appointment of leaders in purpose-driven organisations set to change the world, Perrett Laver has promoted three expert leaders to the Partnership. The new Partners are: Siobhan Doherty, Partner, Global Development and Rights Lead, International Organisations Lead & Africa Lead – during her significant tenure of 10 years with the firm andwith a focus on global development and human rights, Siobhan has worked with social impact organisations across the globe. She brings a particular passion for rights-based organisations and has…

New Vice-Chancellor appointed at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

New Vice-Chancellor appointed at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

The appointment results from a global search after previous Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford retired in March 2022 after eight years at the helm. A New Zealander who grew up in Auckland, Australia, and Canada, Professor Smith has had extensive experience in leadership roles in the tertiary sector in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia. He is currently Provost at the Queensland University of Technology, a relatively new and highly ranked institution with a student population of almost 40,000 FTEs supported by four and half thousand full time staff. He took on that role in early 2020 as COVID-19 hit, and during…

New Director appointed at Deakin University’s Institute for Frontier Materials

New Director appointed at Deakin University’s Institute for Frontier Materials

Biomedical engineering researcher Professor Sally McArthur (pictured) has been named the new Director of Deakin University’s Institute for Frontier Materials. McArthur heads the materials science and engineering centre at Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus with over 200 staff, and a focus on the themes of “Re-designing materials for a circular economy” and “Imparting materials with extraordinary functionality”. Its work runs across the energy, mining, environment, health, transport, textiles and manufacturing sectors. “I am excited to bring my diverse range of experience and skills to Deakin and lead IFM into the future,” said McArthur. “I am joining a team of talented scientists at IFM who are transforming material design,…