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The Canberra Times
The Canberra Times
Sarah Lansdown

ANU announces first woman vice-chancellor to take over from Professor Brian Schmidt

Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell will take over as vice-chancellor of the Australian National University from next year, becoming the first woman to take on the leadership role.

Distinguished Professor Bell is an anthropologist, technologist and futurist who has spent more than two decades in Silicon Valley working with the Intel Corporation.

She returned to Australia in 2017 to the ANU's College of Engineering, Computing and Cybernetics.

Professor Brian Schmidt will step down as ANU vice-chancellor at the end of this year. Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell has been announced as his successor. Pictures supplied

She founded and is the director of the ANU School of Cybernetics and the 3A Institute, with the intent of creating a new branch of engineering to safely, sustainably and responsibly scale AI-enabled systems.

ANU chancellor Julie Bishop said it was clear to the selection panel that Distinguished Professor Bell's vision and values aligned with those of the university.

"Genevieve is a compelling and passionate leader, with a deep understanding of the university's distinctive mission, remarkable legacy, vibrant culture and tremendous assets," Ms Bishop said.

"With an extensive and distinguished track record, Genevieve offers great leadership and strategic capabilities, which will be critical as the university addresses its distinctive opportunities and responsibilities as Australia's national university."

Distinguished Professor Bell said she was honoured to be appointed ANU vice-chancellor.

"As Australia's national university, ANU is a truly unique institution," she said.

"I'm excited to work alongside talented, committed colleagues, in all parts of the University, to build on our legacy and advance our important national and international mission."

The new vice-chancellor has a PhD in anthropology from Stanford University. She joined Intel Corporation in 1998 where she is currently a vice-president and senior fellow.

She has served as a non-executive director of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia but will relinquish this role when she becomes vice-chancellor on January 1, 2024.

"Since joining ANU, Genevieve has led the design and establishment of the School of Cybernetics which launched successfully in 2021, during the disruption of COVID," Ms Bishop said.

"Already, it is having meaningful impact, creating new kinds of educational experiences and benefiting from strong linkages and partnerships with public and private sector organisations."

Outgoing vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt welcomed the appointment.

"It is with great pleasure that I am able to hand over the leadership of ANU to Genevieve Bell. She is someone who is both a leading intellectual and deeply committed to the values of the University and I know she will do a superb job as Vice-Chancellor," Professor Schmidt said.

Professor Schmidt announced his shock resignation in February this year, citing a desire to return to research, teaching and a more balanced life.

He will return to an academic role as a Distinguished Professor in the ANU College of Science next year.

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