Warwickshire College principal Mariane Cavalli has taken a “temporary leave of absence” and will be replaced on an interim basis by chair of governors Sue Georgious.

The board of governors broke the news to staff at the college in an email, seen by FE Week, this morning.

Ms Cavalli (pictured) joined the college in 2010 after previously serving as principal at Croydon College since 2001. The college was rated as outstanding by Ofsted two years before her appointment.

Ms Georgious was appointed the college’s chair of governors in September last year and had previously served on the governing board since 2011.

A college spokesperson said: “The board of governors of Warwickshire College can confirm that the principal Mariane Cavalli has taken a temporary leave of absence from the college with immediate effect.

“The governing body has appointed Sue Georgious, the college’s  former chair of governors, as interim principal to lead the college during this time.

“Sue knows the college well and is deeply committed to it having previously been chair of the governing body. Steve Wood, previously vice chair, has been elected as the new chair.

“Sue has extensive experience in the FE sector in a variety of senior management roles including FE and open college networks and latterly as director at the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency.”

Under Ms Cavalli’s leadership Warwickshire College became one of five colleges that formed the Gazelle Group in November 2011.

According to an FE Week freedom of information request, the college has spent more than £200,000 on purchasing shares in Gazelle Transform Ltd and a further £324,000 for services in connection with developing a “new education concept” with Gazelle Global Ltd.

The college’s website stated that Ms Cavalli is president of the China-UK National Skills College in Qingzhou City, Shandong Province — the first British FE college in China, which is a joint venture between Warwickshire College and the Beijing Guozheng International Education Investment company.

She is also, according to the website, a professor of leadership development at the Hebei Normal University for Nationalities in China and professor of strategic management at Hubei University of Technology, China.

The college has around 16,000 students at sites in Leamington, Rugby, Warwick, Henley, Moreton Morrell and Pershore and was allocated £10,011,582 funding by the Skills Funding Agency as of June 1.