UCAS Chief Executive, Mary Curnock Cook, to stand down in 2017

Today Mary Curnock Cook announced her decision to stand down as Chief Executive of UCAS at the end of April 2017, after leading the organisation for over seven years.
Posted Wed 16 November 2016 - 08:05

Commenting on her announcement Mary Curnock Cook said: “Our unique centralised service means that the UK has the fairest and most transparent HE admissions system in the world. It has been an immense privilege to have been able to build on the extraordinary vision of the vice-chancellors of the early 60s who saw the benefits of a single application process for students and universities.”

UCAS Chair, Professor Sir Steve Smith said: “We are genuinely very sorry that Mary has decided to leave UCAS, but we do understand her desire to move on to another challenge. She has been an exceptional chief executive, and it is going to be very difficult to replace her. She goes with our sincere best wishes and our profound thanks for all that she has done to enhance our outstanding admissions service for students and universities.”

Steering the organisation through a period of dramatic change in higher education, Mary has overseen the transformation of UCAS into a dynamic digital enterprise which every year handles over 4 million applications, helping around 600,000 people to secure degree, postgraduate, or teacher training places.

She has led a major investment in large-scale technology redevelopment to deliver reliable, secure and resilient admissions services for students, universities and colleges. The significant development of UCAS’ analytical capability has provided early, in-depth insight about the impacts of changes in access to higher education.  During her tenure, UCAS has significantly enhanced its services and information for students – ucas.com, which now has over 220 million page views a year, provides access to a wealth of information and advice about applying to and preparing for higher education.

UCAS will shortly commence the search for Mary’s successor. 


Notes to Editors

Mary joined UCAS in January 2010 from the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency. 

She is a trustee of the Access Project and the National Star College, and a governor at Swindon Academy.

She received an OBE in 2000 for services to training in hospitality and tourism.

About UCAS

UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, is a charity and the UK’s shared admissions service for higher education. We manage applications from around 700,000 applicants each year for full-time undergraduate courses at around 380 universities and colleges across the UK. 

Media contacts

UCAS Press Office: 01242 545 469

[email protected]

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