A former student and successful North East businessman is set to take up a new role as Chair of the Board of Governors at the University of Sunderland.

Farooq Hakim will start his new role on August 1 this year following the retirement of current Chair, John Mowbray.

Farooq’s connections with the University date back four decades and today he told how he was “passionately” looking forward to taking up the position.

The incoming Chair graduated as a student in 1990 with a degree in Business Computing.

He would later go on to become a visiting lecturer for more than 10 years, teaching on a wide range of programmes.

Farooq has been a member of the University’s Governing Board for the past seven years.

He said: “As a former student of the University. I’m immensely proud to be appointed the Chair of the Board of Governors and honoured to support the executive team to deliver a truly life-changing experience to all our students.

“Sunderland as a city is regenerating and, as a resident, I’m proud our University is part of that regeneration.

“The University supports both the city and the wider region with the best and brightest students for local employment opportunities.

“We have grown from being a local University to having a national and international presence, influencing and supporting a wide educational eco-system in which I passionately look forward to supporting our diverse partners.

“We are an excellent and proud University, demonstrated when we were nominated for University of the Year in 2021, and I aim to build on this recognition to deliver our strategic ambitions with our students and our staff at the heart of everything.”

Farooq also supported local business through his non-executive roles at the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) and North East Local Economic Partnership (NELEP), as well as being a director at Altruism, a SAFC Foundation company.

In 2014 and 2015 Farooq was included in The Journal’s list of “most influential” people in the region for helping the area develop its digital ambitions.

In 2018 he was named the North East Non-Exec of the Year and in 2021/22, Farooq was made the High Sheriff of Tyne & Wear and he was recently appointed as Deputy Lieutenant.

Farooq also has an Innovation Diploma from Imperial College London and graduated from Oxford University (Pembroke College) in 2014 with an MSc in Major Programme Management.

John Mowbray, current Chairman of the University, said: “I’m delighted that Farooq is taking the Chair from me.

“He is a very supportive governor who will lead the Board well and of course, has a passion for the University as an alumni.

“It’s a wonderful University and I know he will enjoy his time as Chair.”