THE leader of the country’s biggest media agency has been revealed as the university’s new chancellor.
Karen Blackett OBE, chairwoman of MediaCom, is a former student of the University of Portsmouth and will take up the ceremonial role in October.
The post is currently held by author, broadcaster, and television producer, Sandi Toksvig, who is stepping down in the summer after five years.
Karen, who graduated with a BA (Hons) in geography in 1992, said: ‘I’m honoured to become chancellor of the university. As an alumna of Portsmouth, I am thrilled to be able to return to the university and use my passion for developing talent and learning, to help create our next set of leaders.’
She received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours, and in 2015 was the first business woman to be named Britain’s Most Influential Black person in the Power List.
The announcement comes as the university is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Vice-chancellor Professor Graham Galbraith said: ‘As the university celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, we look forward to welcoming Karen as our new chancellor.
‘A proven business leader with a successful career for over 20 years in the media industry, Karen brings to the University a creative passion and proven track record in business that reflects the ethos of all that we do.
‘I am personally delighted that Karen has agreed to become an important part of our university at such an exciting time.’
Karen has worked in the media sector for 23 years. After five years as chief executive of MediaCom she became the firm’s chairwoman.
In her role as chief executive she launched an apprenticeship scheme for 18 to 24-year-olds in 2012.
Sandi Toksvig became chancellor after taking over from actress Sheila Hancock.