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Jeremy Miles MS, Minister for Education and Welsh Language

First published:
19 April 2023
Last updated:

I am pleased to announce Simon Pirotte OBE as my preferred candidate for the role of Chief Executive Officer for the Commission for Tertiary Education and Research.

Simon is currently Principal and Chief Executive of Bridgend College and has worked in the education sector for over thirty years. This includes work in the Higher Education, Further Education and 11-18 Schools sectors in Wales, England and the USA.

A rigorous, open recruitment process took place for the role of Chief Executive between November 2022 and February 2023. However, the panel was unable to recommend a candidate for appointment. Having carefully considered all options available to me, I have therefore decided to appoint directly into the role.

In determining my preferred candidate, I was conscious of the views expressed by the Children, Young People and Education Committee in the pre-appointment hearings for the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Commission, particularly the need to ensure the Commission has experience which recognises the breadth of the sector in Wales. I am confident that following the appointment of Professor Dame Julie Lydon (Chair), Professor David Sweeney (Deputy Chair and Chair of the Research and Innovation Committee) and now with Simon’s forthcoming appointment, we have a team with wide-ranging leadership experience and knowledge of the sector who can lead the new Commission in delivering our innovative and ambitious vision for Wales’s tertiary education and research sector. 

Simon will attend a pre-appointment hearing with the Children, Young People and Education Committee on 25 May in line with the commitment I made during the passage of the Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Act 2022. I look forward to receiving the Committee’s pre-appointment hearing report at which stage I will confirm next steps.

This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.