Lynne Sedgmore, one of the most prominent figures in further education, is to retire after 35 years in the sector.
The executive director of the 157 Group of colleges will stand down later this year, once a new chief executive has been appointed.
Before joining the 157 Group seven years ago, Dr Sedgmore was chief executive of the former Centre for Excellence in Leadership. Prior to that, she was principal of Guildford College, and has held teaching and leadership roles in several other colleges.
She was appointed CBE in the 2004 New Year’s Honours, and earlier this year was included in the Debrett’s 500 list, recognising the UK’s most influential people.
Sarah Robinson, chair of the 157 Group and principal of Stoke on Trent College, said: “Lynne has been instrumental in helping to raise the profile of further education, highlighting the social and economic mission of FE colleges and the important role they play in collaborating with employers and others to develop local economies.
"She has stimulated debate, supported research and facilitated the sharing of effective practice across the sector, especially in teaching and learning.
“Her contribution to the 157 Group, and to the wider further education and skills system, has been enormous. Part of her legacy will surely be the increasingly positive light in which further education is viewed as an alternative gateway to sustained employment and a successful life.”
FE's Lynne Segmore named as one of UK's most influential people – 26 January, 2015
FE colleges can be at 'heart' of skills system, says 157 Group – 27 October, 2014