Professor Paul Bartholomew has been appointed as the new Vice Chancellor of Ulster University (UU).
The academic had a career in the NHS as a diagnostic radiographer for many years before moving into higher education in 2001.
He has a Doctorate in Education and has held positions at three UK universities.
Prof Bartholomew, who is married with one son, moved to Northern Ireland in November 2016 from England to take up the role of Pro-Vice Chancellor of Education at UU, leading on initiatives relating to student satisfaction, progression and retention.
He has held the post of Interim Vice Chancellor at the university since February, during which time he has had responsibility for it fours faculties: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Computing Engineering and the Built Environment, Life and Health Sciences, and the Ulster University Business School.
Prof Bartholomew has also been responsible for academic standards, digital learning, employability and other areas.
His new role is expected to come with an annual salary of £300,000.
Jenny Pyper, Chair of Council at Ulster University, said Prof Bartholomew's "strong, clear and progressive leadership" has been a source of reassurance for staff and students in recent months.
"I know this news will be welcomed by staff, students and the wider Ulster University community across Northern Ireland," she added.
“With the recent news that our Graduate Entry Medical School at the Magee campus will welcome its first students in September 2021 and the Belfast campus currently also on track for a September 2021 opening, this is an exciting time.
"On behalf of Council I would like to offer my congratulations to Paul as we embark upon a new chapter for Ulster University under his leadership, together with Council, Senate and the Senior Leadership Team.”
Prof Bartholomew said it was a "true privilege" to take up the position.
“Never has Ulster’s vital and multi-faceted impact been more needed than at this unprecedented time," he said.
"The natural pace of change has become much amplified over 2020 and we will meet these challenges with the commitment, profound expertise and collaborative spirit and that is so much part of Ulster’s strength and value.
"Working together with our talented Ulster staff, students and alumni, our industry partners and the communities we serve, I look forward to leading Ulster as we work to deliver the full potential of this remarkable place and its people.”
His appointment comes at turbulant time for Ulster University, like many across the UK, firstly dealing with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic in recent months and, in the last week, controversy over A-level grades.
Education Minister Peter Weir announced on Monday that AS and A-Level pupils would receive either their teacher-assessed or exams board calculated grade, whichever is higher, prompting some universities to question how extra student places will be funded if substantial numbers are given improved A-level grades.
Speaking to the BBC on Tuesday morning, however, Prof Bartholomew said that, while it was obvious that students' grades will increase, Ulster University will work to accommodate those who qualify.
"That will mean they've more opportunities and we've potentially more obligations to take them," he said.
"I think we know that money has already been committed and there is a pot that gets shared out.
"We are confident that we can take more students and I think before we start committing money I think we have to sit down and work out what the sector can do with the department to meet the needs of those students.
"We're confident we can give more students than ever a fantastic experience at both universities."
Ulster University has approximately 27,000 students and 2,700 staff across four campuses - Belfast, Coleraine, Jordanstown and Magee.
It is currently completing a new campus in Belfast City centre.