Former LSE academic David Held, who held close ties with Saif-al-Islam Gaddafi, has been announced as the new Master of Castle.
In a statement Held said: “I will be taking up the positions of master of University College and chair of politics and international relations at the University of Durham from January.
“This move is being made for academic reasons and I look forward to the new avenues of research that this role will bring. I have many links to LSE which will be maintained in the years ahead.”
Professor Held was an academic adviser to the toppled dictator’s son when he studied at LSE, and was caught up in the scandal earlier this year which forced LSE’s director Howard Davies to resign.
Often described as an “informal academic adviser” of Saif Gaddafi, Held is leaving LSE ahead of a report into the scandal.
Professor Graham Towl, Deputy Warden of Durham University, said: “We are delighted to have appointed Professor David Held as Master of University College.
“Professor Held was selected from a very strong field of candidates from across the world following a rigorous interview process and is joining Durham from another leading institution, the LSE.
“He has a particular passion for education at undergraduate and postgraduate level and also brings both entrepreneurial experience, for example in modern academic publishing, and a wealth of management skills which will prove invaluable in his role as Master.
However, Castle Senior Man Christopher Winterhoff was critical of how students were consulted on the issue.
He said: “There is a general dissatisfaction, not just at Castle but throughout other colleges, as to how the University communicates with its students and their representatives concerning matters such as (but not limited to) the appointment of Heads of College.
“On my request concerning any information regarding the selection process or the current stage of the selection, I was greeted with a short and inconclusive answer.
“It seems as though the students who are the main stakeholders in the appointment of the Head of College position are being ignored in the process.”
Held had been a co-director the LSE’s Global Governance research centre, which was shut down earlier this year after heavy criticms of LSE’s acceptance of a £1.5 million gift to the Global Governance centre from the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation.
Former Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf has been commissioned by the LSE to investigate the decision to accept the donation. He is also to look into allegations that Saif Gaddafi’s doctoral thesis was plagiarised.
Held replaces Maurice Tucker, a firm favourite among students at the college.
More to follow.