Education Secretary Gillian Shephard has appointed seven new governors to Derby College, Wilmorton, after backing a report which criticised mismanagement and malpractice at the college.
Mrs Shephard rejected a campaign by former governors and the Colleges' Employers' Forum to question the legality of the report by Professor Michael Shattock by dismissing four of the six remaining board members over a catalogue of negligence, injustice and waste.
Using her powers under the 1992 Further and Higher Education Act, Mrs Shephard chose four business leaders, a solicitor, an NHS official and a university professor to lead the college, which has a budget of over Pounds 10 million a year. One of their first tasks will be to appoint a new principal and decide a financial settlement for the former Pounds 50,000-a-year principal Andrew Stromberg, who has been on sick leave since asking for early retirement in July.
Staff governor Brian Bonsall, who was unlawfully removed from the board by colleagues last year for objecting publicly to failure to follow procedures, was not dismissed. He was cleared of what the report described as the "lamentable catalogue of incompetence". Acting principal Tim Parkes was also spared dismissal because he was not a governor when the mismanagement took place. But both were asked to resign to enable Mrs Shephard to appoint a new board.
Angela Knight, Conservative MP for Erewash, who first called for the inquiry, said: "If someone finds irregularities and they feel they should take it further, they should be absolved of responsibility."
Three of the four sacked governors claimed the report was unfair because they were only given one 30-minute interview to defend themselves. Former governor Barbara Summers said: "A reprimand would have been more in order."
The seven new governors are Patricia Zadora, of Thomas-Zadora Associates; Mollie Kirkland, managing director of Five Lamps Group plc; John Rivers, personnel director of Rolls-Royce aerospace; Christian Williams, finance director of Derby City General NHS trust; John Holmes, senior partner of solicitors Flint, Bishop and Barnett; Professor John Brooks, assistant principal of Sheffield Hallam University; and Brian Coxon, chairman of BDC Holdings and a governor of Derby City Technology College.