Sir William Wakeham, former vice chancellor of Southampton University, UK, has been appointed the 70th president of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE). He succeeds Desmond King.

“IChemE is a global organization with members in 120 countries,” Wakeham said. “But those members are working in a wider range of sectors than ever before and not all of them have what might be called a ‘traditional chemical engineering’ background.

“This trend is going to become increasingly frequent, and it’s important that the services, support structure and governance of IChemE meets the needs of a diverse and wide-ranging membership base,” he said.

Wakeham retired as vice-chancellor at Southampton University in 2009 after serving for eight years. He previously worked at Imperial College London for over 30 years. Wakeham was knighted in 2009 for services to chemical engineering and higher education.

A physicist by training who was educated at Exeter University, Wakeham has spent much of his career in chemical engineering. He is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Electrical Engineers and the Institute of Physics.

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