The principal of LeSoCo in south east London is to stand down at the end of the academic year, the college’s governors have announced.

Maxine Room has been in the role at the 17,000-learner college, which has a current Skills Funding Agency allocation of £26.2m, for five years, and oversaw the merger which joined Lewisham College with Southwark College in 2012.

Ms Room also presided over an Ofsted inspection last November which resulted in a grade four “inadequate” rating in January, and has previously maintained that she planned to stay in post, despite criticism of the college in a follow-up inspection and the loss of an appeal against the grading.

She also pledged not to resign after FE commissioner Dr David Collins reported that he had identified “weaknesses” in leadership and governance at the college.

A spokesperson for the board of governors said: “LeSoCo is today announcing that after five years as Principal of Lewisham and then LeSoCo, Maxine Room CBE has decided that at the end of this academic year she will retire from her post as Principal and CEO, although she intends to remain active in the FE sector.

“Maxine led the successful merger between Lewisham College and Southwark College and has led on the transformation of both Colleges into one vibrant, ambitious and enterprising college – LeSoCo. The governing body is very grateful for the commitment, passion and leadership that Maxine has shown during her time as Principal.

“We will now begin the search for Maxine’s successor, who we hope to have in place by the beginning of the 2014/2015 academic year.”

Ms Room has yet to comment.