The chief executive of North Hertfordshire College, Fintan Donohue, is to step down to concentrate on his role as executive chair of the Gazelle Colleges Group.

Mr Donohue will leave the college, where he has been chief executive for seven years, at the end of next month.

He said he had decided it was “the right time” to retire from the post.

“It has been a great privilege to lead in a college environment and I will never underestimate how much leadership can contribute to the lives of thousands of students,” he added.

“North Hertfordshire College has led the way in an entrepreneurial approach to new opportunities in areas such as apprenticeships, and Ofsted has recognised the college’s leadership and governance as outstanding.”

The Gazelle Group is a grouping of 19 colleges formed in 2011. It focuses on developing students’ entrepreneurial skills, claiming to make them better employees and giving them the ability to run their own businesses.

Mr Donohue has occupied the role as the Gazelle Group’s executive chair since November 2011, performing it part time alongside his position at North Hertfordshire College.

He said: “I will be continuing my work with Gazelle as executive chair, and spending more time on the strategic and international development of the organisation.”

His plans for the future of the group, he said, would include a focus on “the strategic potential of leadership” and the development of models such as the group’s learning companies, where students run a business based on their skills at the same time as studying for a qualification.

“Gazelle was formed just two years ago with five colleges and the investment in research, student opportunity and teacher development has created a momentum that has transformational potential for the sector,” he said.

“I hope to play a role in that transformation for the foreseeable future.”

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