Former Education and Training Foundation (ETF) interim chief executive Sir Geoff Hall has been appointed general secretary of the Principals’ Professional Council (PPC).

He took over from Nick Lewis, who served as PPC General Secretary for the past four years, from today (May 11).

Sir Geoff, a former principal and chief executive of New College Nottingham and chair of the Information Authority, who was knighted for services to FE in the New Year Honours 2012, said: “My aim is to continue Nick’s work in providing support to colleagues in the FE sector.

“There are a number of major issues for the FE sector at this time. One of these is coping with the incredibly challenging financial circumstances facing colleges and how this will be approached by government and the sector over the next five years.

“In addition, PPC has an important role to play in helping to ensure the success of colleges. We have many excellent and experienced principals who can support newer principals.”

Mr Lewis said: “To have as my successor Sir Geoff can only lead PPC from strength to strength.”

The appointment of Sir Geoff completes a revamp at the top of the PPC with South Thames College principal Sue Rimmer having been elected chair in January.

She said: “Sir Geoff brings a wealth of skills and experience and will build on the good work that Nick has done over the past four years, helping PPC to make sure that the voice of principals is both heard and respected.”

Meanwhile, Ms Rimmer’s predecessor in the PPC chair, Mike Hopkins, will become principal at Sussex Downs College from September, it has been announced.

He was previously chief executive of the federation between Middlesbrough College and Gateshead College, but was left without a role after the organisation was disbanded late last year after just 12 months.

He takes over at Sussex Downs from retiring Melanie Hunt, who started as principal at the college five years ago. The pair will be working together, along with governors and college staff, in the interim to ensure a smooth changeover.

Mr Hopkins said: “I am thrilled and honoured to have been asked to become the next principal of Sussex Downs College. The college is full of committed and able staff. I look forward to leading them into the next stage of the college’s development.

“I want the college to be a high quality driver of sustainable economic growth and an engine of social mobility.”

Henry Ball, chair of the governing body, said: “Mike brings a wealth of knowledge and experience together with a vision for the future which will place the college at the centre of education and training in the wide range of communities we serve.”

Mrs Hunt said: “I absolutely love Sussex Downs College, and have been incredibly proud and privileged to lead a college where I have been — at various points in my life — a student, a parent and a member of staff. I shall miss it.”