The departure of director Ellen Marks from Van Hall Larenstein came as no surprise.
One month ago, she was appointed interim director by the brand new supervisory board at VHL, but this appointment went down the wrong way with the participational council (MR). The council passed a vote of no confidence in Marks two years ago, and that confidence has never been restored. So the MR advised against the appointment of Marks as interim director. At this point the supervisory board faced a new dilemma: to side with the manager or with the staff representatives? The upshot is clear: after consultations with the supervisory board, Marks has announced her resignation.
It was only six months ago that Marks was reappointed as general director of VHL by the executive board of Wageningen UR. That took place against the wishes of the MR and on the eve of the vote on cutting loose from Wagneningen UR. Now that this has happened and VHL and Wageningen UR are separate administrative entities, her Wageningen support has gone. The MR, which has had its way, describes her departure as inevitable. 'I respect her decision. It is not nice for her,' says MR chair Michiel Hupkes. Marks herself does not wish to comment.
The supervisory board now needs to find a new interim board chair, and fast, so that VHL has a representative for negotiations with Wageningen UR about unscrambling the merger with regard to services. Moreover, VHL is due for a visitation by the educational accreditation commission of the applied sciences higher education council next spring. A moment when a shared educational vision is crucial.And that is exactly what has been lacking in recent years.