Boss who helped turn around Dudley College to leave role

The man credited with transforming the fortunes of a Black Country college is to step down from his role.

Lowell Williams, left, with former chancellor Philip Hammond
Lowell Williams, left, with former chancellor Philip Hammond

Lowell Williams, the chief executive and former principal of Dudley College, has announced he is to leave in January after more than a decade.

The college has undergone huge change under the leadership of Mr Williams, who has led efforts to drive up standards and boost its reputation.

A huge expansion programme has seen modern buildings spring up around the town centre, while recognition of his impact came from Ofsted two years ago when it rated the college as outstanding across the board. It had been inadequate 10 years earlier.

He also led efforts to create the new Institute of Technology, which has secured Government backing.

Lowell Williams chats to Tony Blair during a visit to the college last year

Mr Williams said he was leaving the college to pursue "new opportunities" which will include taking up a position of a non-executive director at the Dudley Group NHS Trust, which runs Russells Hall Hospital, but vowed to continue to support the college.

He said: "I will be retaining a close interest in the college and in the borough. I will continue to offer my support to the college, as required, and I will be retaining my roles as chair of the board of trustees of Dudley Academies Trust and chair of the Black Country Living Museum.

"I will also be taking up new a position as non-executive director of the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust. But I will never forget my time at the college. It has been such a privilege to work here.”

The current position of Dudley College is a far cry from when Mr Williams arrived in 2008. In a previous interview with the Express & Star he candidly admitted the college was "a mess".

His successor will be current principal Neil Thomas, who has worked alongside Mr Williams over the last decade and will become both chief executive and principal.

Mr Williams said: "I am absolutely delighted the corporation has decided to appoint Neil as my successor. He is very definitely the right person for the job. I have every confidence that he will lead the college from strength to strength."

Mr Thomas said: "I’m delighted to be taking up the reins at this college, which I love and feel so passionate about.

"Young people and adults in Dudley and the wider Black Country deserve the very best from this college and I will work tirelessly with my colleagues to give them just that."

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