Sir Anton Muscatelli to retire as principle and vice-chancellor of Glasgow University

After 16 years in the role, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli will step down in September 2025

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli will be retiring from his position as principle and vice-chancellor of the University of Glasgow after 16 years in the role.

He will continue in the role until September 2025, when his successor will take his place.

Sir Anton’s association with Glasgow University spans over 40 years, from his time as a student, lecturer and professor, to the principal and vice-chancellor of the institution.

In a letter to staff and students, the vice-chancellor wrote that “by next year, I will have served 16 years as principal, and I will have served over 20 years in university senior management”. He continued, explaining how he felt that “this is the right time to finally step back”, and that “the university is in a very good place at present, both academically and financially”.

During his time as vice-chancellor of the University of Glasgow, principle Anton Muscatelli implemented many changes and navigated the institution through significant historical events.  One of Sir Anton’s first actions in his role at the university was the creation of a post of senior vice-principal, with responsibility for internationalisation, a key policy of his.

He also restructured the university, seeing the nine academic faculties replaced by four over-arching colleges. The number of academic departments was also reduced from a total of 45 to 23 schools. The net worth of Glasgow University also increased during his time in the position, rising from roughly £89m in 2009, to £219.8m as of 2020, according to financial statements released by the university.

Vice-chancellor Muscatelli made history in the UK in 2018, when he contronted the role of slavery in the University of Glasgow’s history, explaining how the institution “received significant financial support from people whose wealth came from slavery”. He later told the Times how “talking about historical links to slavery can be a difficult conversation but we felt it was a necessary one to have”.

The University of Glasgow also won the Times Scottish University of the Year 2024, beating Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews to the top spot.

Despite these achievements, Sir Anton was subject to some controversy during his time as vice-chancellor. A report released by the University and College Union in February 2016 placed the vice-chancellor 7th out of 20 for airfare, totalling expenses of £31,300.28 – more than triple the average expenditure of £8,560.37, according to the Glasgow Guardian.

Most recently, Sir Anton attempted to distance the university from its newly elected Rector, Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah. Writing to the UK Lawyers For Israel advocacy group, he explained: “The rector is a wholly independent role (separate from university senior management) with no executive authority in the university, and whilst the rector is free to express their thoughts and represent those of students – indeed this has been the case throughout history – we are clear these views are independent and do not represent those of the university.”

His wish for the university moving forward is that  the institution “should continue to be very ambitious and courageous”, and reassures that he will continue “to be a loyal supporter of our institution, albeit from a new and different perspective”.

A spokesperson for the University of Glasgow said: “The University of Glasgow is a world-leading institution with global links and partnerships. Our international activities support our global reputation, and we have robust policies and guidance in place – which have been strengthened since the publication of these figures over eight years ago – to ensure that all business travel provides value for money and positively impacts on the organisation.”

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli was approached for comment.

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Featured image via University of Glasgow