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A NEW chief operating officer will join the University of Portsmouth next year.

Bernie Topham, who is the chief executive at Eastleigh Borough Council, will join the university by early January.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Galbraith said: ‘I am very pleased to welcome Bernie to the university’s senior management team.

‘Bernie’s management and strategic development skills, coupled with her track record of innovation and ability to lead on demanding portfolios, will allow her to contribute strongly to our student focus.’

Ms Topham was head of economic development and tourism at Portsmouth City Council. She is a former university of Portsmouth external governor.

‘I have seen the university grow in confidence and take its place as a successful modern institution and a force in the city and in the region,’ she said.

‘I was very proud to be a governor, and am now delighted to join the university as a member of staff and to contribute to its continued growth and success.’