College CEO to step down after ‘serious heart attack’

John van de Laarschot will leave Nottingham College to 'focus on regaining fitness and resilience'

John van de Laarschot will leave Nottingham College to 'focus on regaining fitness and resilience'

15 Nov 2021, 17:28

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A college chief executive is stepping down after suffering from a “serious heart attack”.

John van de Laarschot will end his five-year tenure at Nottingham College at the end of this year to “focus on regaining fitness and resilience”.

In a message to the college on Friday, chair Carole Thorogood thanked van de Laarschot for his “significant contribution and to wish him well with his ongoing recovery”.

Martin Sim, a deputy FE Commissioner, took over from van de Laarschot at Nottingham College in May.

The college has gone through a troublesome period since being created from a merger of New College Nottingham and Central College Nottingham in 2017.

It was subject to 15 days of strikes in 2019, during which University and College Union members dealt a vote of no confidence to the leadership. Months later, the college was downgraded by Ofsted from ‘good’ to ‘requires improvement’.

In 2020 it was subject to FE Commissioner intervention after hitting “serious cashflow pressures”, which arose after the college completed a major £58.5 million build and following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The college has long term debt of £47.2 million and recorded a deficit of £10,million in 2020, according to its latest published accounts.

Thorogood said van de Laarschot “successfully led the college through a challenging and difficult merger securing funding from the ESFA, City Council, LEP and Barclays”.

“He has worked tirelessly to consolidate the college’s estate and deliver the superb city hub campus whilst establishing a positive vision and values which now underpin the college’s future as the preferred destination for students and an employer of choice for staff,” she added.

“Under his leadership the college has successfully navigated challenging financial and quality focused issues and has emerged stronger and well positioned for the future.”

Nottingham College has more than 1,000 staff and teaches around 20,000 students each year.

A spokesperson for the college said leadership will embark on finding a new permanent chief executice to ensure they are in post by the beginning of August 2022.

Sim will continue as interim boss until the appointment is made.

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