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25 May, 2022 - 21:46 By Tony Quested

Ex Coca-Cola man is interim VC at the University of Cambridge

Former Coca-Cola research expert and global management consultant Dr Anthony Freeling has accepted the Vice-Chancellor role at the University of Cambridge while a successor to Professor Stephen Toope is recruited.

Dr Freeling is expected to stay in office for six months from October 1 after Professor Toope moves on. Recruitment for the permanent post is underway and an appointment is expected to be announced in the early Autumn.

Dr Freeling has been President of Hughes Hall since 2014, having initially become involved with the College as a Fellow and Trustee in 2008. As a member of the University Council and Chair of the Colleges Committee, he has extensive experience of the operation of the Collegiate University.

He said: “It is a great honour to be asked to lead the University, picking up the baton from Stephen and passing it on in due course to the next Vice-Chancellor. 

“I look forward to working with the senior teams of the University and of the Colleges. We must jointly maintain momentum on the initiatives that are underway to ensure that Cambridge maintains research and education excellence at the highest global standard, putting our students and staff at the forefront of all we do.”

Professor Toope said: “I have worked closely with Anthony over several years, and particularly in navigating our way through the challenges of the pandemic. 

“He is an exceptionally able colleague and strong leader. He has been instrumental in helping the University and Colleges work more closely, and with greater sense of shared purpose, than ever before. 

“I am entirely confident that this great University will continue to thrive under his leadership and I wish him every success.”

Dr Freeling studied at St John’s College, Cambridge between 1975 and 1984 completing an MA in Mathematics, an MPhil in Control Engineering and Operation Research and a PhD in Decision Analysis and Behavioural Economics.

Prior to resuming his long relationship with Cambridge, he spent 18 years with global management consultancy McKinsey & Company, where he was a senior partner leading its marketing and sales practice across Europe. 

He has also worked as an independent consultant advising a broad range of companies in areas as diverse as law and global marketing. He was a director of Ashridge Strategic Management Centre and research director of the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Councils for Europe and Asia.

He was formerly on the Council of the Open University and on the board of UnLtd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs.

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