The Chief Executive of Unitec, Rick Ede, has announced that he is stepping down after almost 10 years in the role.
Ede’s contract had been due to finish at the end of 2018; however his resignation means the search for a new Chief Executive will start earlier than expected.
The announcement follows a recent decision to bring back in-house many of the functions and activities that Unitec management outsourced to the business services company Concentrix in April 2016, which led to the loss of 87 jobs.
Dr Ede said at the time: “Concentrix are specialists in customer-centric service provision, and this partnership will ensure we achieve this while allowing us to focus on what we do best; delivering strong educational outcomes for our students.”
The outsourcing of essential services to Concentrix has been strongly and consistently opposed by the Tertiary Education Union from the outset.
According to figures compiled by the TEU in October 2016, the institution lost up to $15 million in revenue last year because of problems associated with the outsourced enrolment system.
The number of full-time-equivalent students on some courses dropped by about 40 percent between May and October last year, compared to the same time in 2015.
In a recent meeting with the TEU, management acknowledged the many difficulties the institution has experienced with Concentrix.
On Monday, union members requested an explanation for what has happened from Unitec’s Council.
Sandra Grey, national president of the TEU, said: “Unitec management should be congratulated for taking what must have been a very difficult decision.
“Since the decision to outsource essential services was first made TEU members have been working tirelessly to highlight the impact it would have on the loss institutional knowledge, operating costs, customer experience, and revenue.
“This disappointing chapter in Unitec’s history should be a lesson to all institutions about the dangers of privatisation.”