John Hood (university administrator)

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Sir John Hood

John Hood 20050317.jpg
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford
In office
5 October 2004 – 30 September 2009
ChancellorThe Lord Patten of Barnes
Preceded bySir Colin Lucas
Succeeded byAndrew D. Hamilton
Personal details
Born (1952-01-02) 2 January 1952 (age 67)
Napier, New Zealand
Alma materUniversity of Auckland
Worcester College, Oxford

Sir John Antony Hood KNZM (born 2 January 1952) is a New Zealand businessman and administrator. He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford from 5 October 2004 until 30 September 2009, he was the first Vice-Chancellor to be elected from outside Oxford's academic body in 900 years,[1] and the first to have addressed the scholars' congregation via a webcast.[2] In March 2007 New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark awarded him the World Class New Zealand supreme award to honour his contribution to profiling New Zealand and New Zealanders internationally.[1] On 15 November 2007 he announced that he would not seek an extension to his five-year term as Vice Chancellor, and that he would leave Oxford in September 2009.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Born on 2 January 1952 in Napier, New Zealand, Hood attended Westlake Boys High School in Auckland, where a house has been named after him (Hood House).

During 1970 and 1976, Hood attended the University of Auckland, where he graduated with a B.E. in 1972 and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering in 1976.[4][5] He then won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, where he resided in Worcester College and studied for an M.Phil. in Management.[6] He won a Blue playing squash for Oxford University and also played first-class cricket for Oxford University in 1977.[7]


Career in New Zealand[edit]

He has held a number of directorships in prominent New Zealand companies and bodies, including Fonterra, Fletcher Challenge and the New Zealand Cricket review of 1995, his career at Fletcher Challenge is described in the book Battle of the Titans by Bruce Wallace. From 1998–2004, he was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland.

Vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford[edit]

Hood's term as vice-chancellor of Oxford has been the subject of controversy. Hood had proposed to reform the 900-year-old tradition of complete self-governance by introducing a number of external members to council, and by separating academic and financial boards;[8] the initial proposal called for a majority of external members of council, bringing Oxford into line with all other UK universities except the University of Cambridge.[9] Following a two-hour debate, the proposal was amended by Congregation to allow the election of a fellow insider to the council within five years, resulting in a majority of eight insiders (including the vice-chancellor) to the 15-member council;[9] the amendment was supported by a majority of votes (657 to 502), with both supporters and opponents of the reforms claiming victory.[9]

The amended proposal was brought to vote by Congregation on 28 November 2006, and was defeated by 730 to 456 votes.[10] A postal vote was called on 5 December, with ballots being sent to all 3000 members of Congregation and votes being accepted until 18 December.[11] On 19 December it was announced that the proposal had once again been defeated, this time by 1540 to 997 votes.[12] Hood stated that he would not treat the defeat as a vote of no confidence, citing a need to "put aside division, continue dialogue with all shades of opinion and, in an atmosphere of trust, tolerance and goodwill, promote the academic aims and ideals of Oxford".[12][13][14]

The proposed reform met with opposition not because it would invite outside opinion on the university's financial and academic decisions, but because of the impression that control would be wrested from Congregation, thus threatening the university's academic reputation.[8] Furthermore, some opponents claimed that the reform would place too much power in the hands of the vice-chancellor.[15] Other critics questioned the applicability of corporate models of governance in educational institutions.[16] Lord Patten of Barnes has stated that without reforms to Oxford's governance it will be more difficult to raise money that the university needs to advance, particularly with respect to needs-based funding to support students from poorer backgrounds.[8] Similarly, Hood has stated that the issue is not "whether there has to be change, but what kind of change."[8]

Others have criticised the appointment of the Registrar, Julie Maxton, who is noted to be a former colleague of Hood.[2] Maxton was chosen for the position of Registrar by way of a selection committee including consultants, external members of council, and the vice-chancellor of Cambridge.[2]

Comparisons have been drawn[2] with Lawrence Summers, the 27th President of Harvard University, who announced his resignation on 21 February 2006 following two motions of censure. Although individual academic staff have been critical of John Hood[17] no formal motions were brought forward calling for his resignation. However, an informal letter of confidence organised by his supporters in February 2006 attracted around 50 signatories from Members of Congregation.[2] Contested elections to the Council of the University by Congregation have resulted in the election of three leading critics of Hood's proposals, namely Susan Cooper in 2005, Nicholas Bamforth in 2006[18] and Donald Fraser who was elected unopposed, also in 2006.[19]

In June 2007 it was revealed that the University press office had been monitoring and editing comments in Hood's Wikipedia article in an attempt to protect his reputation.[20] In the same month, two further critics of Hood, Colin Thompson[21] and Peter Robbins,[22] were elected to the Council.

Andrew Hamilton, who had previously served as the Provost of Yale University, was nominated on 3 June 2008 to succeed John Hood as Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University from 1 October 2009.[23] [24] His appointment was confirmed on 16 June 2008.[25]

Later career[edit]

Hood (right) in 2014, after his investiture as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit by the governor-general, Sir Jerry Mateparae

He is a non-executive director of BG Group Plc, and will be President and Chief Executive Officer of the Robertson Foundation from 2010.[26][27][28]

In December 2011, John Hood became Chair of Rhodes Trustees.[29]

In January 2012, the board of global private education provider Study Group appointed John Hood as chairman.[30]

In the 2014 Queen's Birthday Honours, Hood was appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (KNZM) for services to tertiary education.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Hood has two daughters (Anna and Nina Hood) and son (Thomas Hood).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Twose, Helen (16 March 2007). "John Hood takes supreme award for world contribution". The New Zealand Herald. APN Holding NZ Ltd. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e MacLeod, Donald (22 February 2006). "Oxford head begins web charm offensive". London: Guardian. Retrieved 13 December 2006.
  3. ^ "Dr John Hood confirms his plans for completing his five-year term as Vice-Chancellor". Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  4. ^ "John Hood". All Souls College, Oxford.
  5. ^ John Hood. "John Hood - CV" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 November 2013.
  6. ^ "John Hood biography". University of Oxford. 5 October 2004. Retrieved 27 April 2009.
  7. ^ "Cricinfo Cricket records". Retrieved 13 December 2006.
  8. ^ a b c d "Oxford dons reject finance reform". BBC News. 19 December 2006. Retrieved 4 January 2007.
  9. ^ a b c MacLeod, Donald (15 November 2006). "Oxford debate: both sides claim victory". London: Guardian. Retrieved 13 December 2006.
  10. ^ Lightfoot, Liz (28 November 2006). "Oxford dons reject plans for outside rule". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 13 December 2006.
  11. ^ Smith, Alexandra (5 December 2006). "Oxford reforms face postal vote". London: Guardian. Retrieved 13 December 2006.
  12. ^ a b Smith, Alexandra (19 December 2006). "Oxford dons reject reform plans". London: Guardian. Retrieved 19 December 2006.
  13. ^ Hood, John (19 December 2006). "Full statement on rejection of Oxford's reform plans". London: Guardian. Retrieved 19 December 2006.
  14. ^ Boone, Jon (18 December 2006). "Oxford chief moves to quash speculation". Financial Times. Retrieved 18 December 2006.
  15. ^ Henry, Julie (12 November 2006). "Passion in the cloisters as dons battle for the future of Oxford". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 13 December 2006.
  16. ^ MacLeod, Donald (25 April 2005). "Oxford reform plans face opposition". London: Guardian. Retrieved 4 January 2007.
  17. ^ "No-confidence vote looms for Oxford vice-chancellor". London: Guardian. 2 February 2006. Retrieved 4 January 2007.
  18. ^ "Congregation Election 8 June". Retrieved 12 May 2007.
  19. ^ "Uncontested Elections 23 November". Retrieved 10 May 2007..
  20. ^ "Press office monitor Hood's Wiki profile". Archived from the original on 28 May 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  21. ^ "Elections 7 June". Retrieved 8 July 2007.
  22. ^ "Uncontested Elections 7 June". Retrieved 30 September 2010.
  23. ^ "Provost of Yale nominated as next Vice-Chancellor". Archived from the original on 4 June 2008. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
  24. ^ "Statutes and Regulations:Regulations for University Officers". Retrieved 3 June 2008.
  25. ^ "Professor Andrew Hamilton confirmed as next Vice-Chancellor". Archived from the original on 18 June 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2008.
  26. ^ "Robertson Foundation Names Dr. John Hood President, Chief Executive Officer". The Wall Street Journal MarketWatch. 22 April 2009. Retrieved 22 April 2009.
  27. ^ "Dr John Hood to join Robertson Foundation in 2010". Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2009.
  28. ^ "Appointments". Times Higher Education. 7–13 May 2009. p. 22.
  29. ^ "Dr John Hood appointed Chair of Rhodes Trustees". The Rhodes Trust. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  30. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 January 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  31. ^ "Queen's Birthday honours list 2014". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2018.


  • Wallace, Bruce (2001). Battle of the Titans. Auckland: Penguin Books (NZ) Ltd. ISBN 0-14-100472-X.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Kit Carson
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland
Succeeded by
Stuart McCutcheon
Preceded by
Sir Colin Lucas
Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University
Succeeded by
Andrew D. Hamilton