Hood chosen to put Oxford back on top with industry tie-ups
Friday, 20 June 2003 - Herald

By ALAN PERROTT education reporter

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John Hood will need all his business acumen when he takes over Oxford University, which is believed to have slipped behind rival Cambridge.

Dr Hood, the first outsider to take over the renowned institution in its 900-year history, will take over as Cambridge and Oxford compete for research money from industry or resort to large fundraising projects to maintain their positions.

Insiders say his selection increases the likelihood that Oxford will move into tie-ups with industry, where it has lagged behind Cambridge.

Dr Hood is a director of Fonterra, chairman of Tonkin & Taylor, director of ASB Group and ASB Bank, director of Universitas 21, trustee of the Asia 2000 Foundation, secretary for the Rhodes Trust, and a member of the Prime Minister's Growth and Innovation Advisory Group.

He spent some time at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar and will arrive during a radical overhaul with the opening of a multimillion-dollar business school and a growing emphasis on industrial research.

Dr Hood said he wanted to "maximise the potential of the university's substantial programme of major capital developments", to ensure Oxford "retains its place as one of the truly world-class universities".

Former university colleague and Oxford graduate, retired Professor Don Smith, said Dr Hood would be expected to take fresh perspectives with him. "John has great experience in those areas, industry and commerce, and has been trying to move Auckland in the same direction," he said.

"For that reason I feel sad for Auckland as well. They have to find a new vice-chancellor and I don't know if there is anyone suitable around."

Professor Dame Anne Salmond ranked the honour above Mike Moore's time at the head of the World Trade Organisation.

"I think the country should very proud of him."