Hong Kong University of Science and Technology president to step down early in September 2018

No reasons given for decision to depart a year before second term was to end

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 June, 2017, 12:30am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 June, 2017, 12:30am

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology president Tony Chan Fan-cheong will step down from his position in September 2018, the school announced on Friday, one year before his term was due to expire.

Chan did not reveal reasons for his early departure, only saying the search for a successor at this stage would facilitate the university’s growth and development.

The 65-year-old mathematician took over from physicist Paul Chu Ching-wu in 2009, and was serving a second term due to end in 2019.

HKUST and CityU place second and seventh in world young university rankings

During his tenure, Chan oversaw HKUST’s transition into the “3-3-4” academic structure in which Hong Kong’s undergraduate courses were lengthened by a year to four years.

The school celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2016, and was ranked 30th in the latest QS World University Rankings.

“President Tony Chan has overseen HKUST’s growth and it is now widely regarded as one of the best universities in the world,” a university statement read.

It is time to pave the way for a successor who can bring fresh ideas and a long-term commitment
Tony Chan Fan-cheong, HKUST president

“After careful consideration, he feels now is the right time, for both the university and himself, to begin the search for a successor to lead the university into its next phase.”

In the meantime, Chan will help the university’s council in its search for his successor.

“It is time to pave the way for a successor who can bring fresh ideas and a long-term commitment to advance our strategic plan,” Chan said. “This timeline also allows me to start planning the next stage of my life and career while assisting the council in the transition phase.”

Council chairman Andrew Liao Cheung-sing said the governing bodyaccepted Chan’s resignation with regret.

“[Chan] has inspired others with his vision, strategic planning and fundraising efforts as well as his achievements in improving student life and campus infrastructure,” Liao said.

Chan’s resignation news follows that of his University of Hong Kong counterpart, Peter Mathieson, in February, which shocked the academic world.

Mathieson, who endured tumultuous times at the city’s top-ranking institution, is to leave his post by January 2018 to take the helm at Edinburgh University in Scotland.