Skip to content

About the OU > Admin and governance > Chancellor and Pro-Chancellor

Chancellor and Pro-Chancellor

The Chancellor is the most senior officer of the University, and is the University's ambassador, presiding over degree ceremonies and attending University events. Lord Puttnam was appointed Chancellor of The Open University in October 2006.

The primary role of the Pro-Chancellor is as Chair of the OU's Council. The Pro-Chancellor also steps in on occasion as Chief Presiding Officer at degree ceremonies.

Chancellor of The Open University: Martha Lane Fox, Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho

The OU has appointed Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho as its new Chancellor, succeeding Lord Puttnam who is stepping down after more than seven years in the role.
Martin Bean, said: “Just like the OU, Martha has always been a tireless advocate for all things digital, constantly working to unleash the incredible power of technology to transform and improve the way we live, work and study.  I would like to thank Lord Puttnam for his years of hard work and loyalty and look forward to welcoming Martha into this important role.”
Martha Lane Fox has built her career around the digital world, making her mark as one of the founders of 
For more than four years she served as the government’s UK Digital Champion, leading a drive to get more people and services engaged with the online world.  In 2012 she launched a charity – Go ON UK – which aims to plug the digital skills gap among British adults. 
Last year she joined the House of Lords and recently led a debate on the 25th anniversary of the world wide web.
The appointment was approved by a joint meeting of the University’s governing body, the Council and the Senate at a meeting on Tuesday 11 March.  The Chancellor is the public face of the university, acting as an ambassador with supporters around the world and attending degree ceremonies.
Martha said: “I have seen how technology can transform the way we do things – from shopping to socialising to studying. The Open University has an astonishing track-record of using of new and emerging technologies to make higher education available to all people around the world.  Its ethos of inclusion and access is something I respect hugely.  I am extremely excited about this appointment and can’t wait to start meeting students.”
In addition to her work with the government, Martha has served on the boards of Channel 4 and Marks & Spencer and is patron of several charities.  She is also helping to finance the Women’s Prize for Fiction. 
Martha will be formally installed as Chancellor of the OU later this year and will take up her formal duties from September.

Pro-Chancellor: Baron Haskins of Skidby

Christopher Haskins was made a peer in 1998. During a long and distinguished business career he was Chairman of Northern Foods until 2002, having joined the organisation (then Northern Dairies) in 1962. He also served as Chairman, Better Regulation Task Force 1997-2002, Chairman of Express Dairies plc 1998-2002, Board member of Yorkshire Regional Development Agency 1998-2008, Chairman of European Movement 2003-2005 and Director of Yorkshire Television 2001-2004.

He is currently a member of the Board of the Lawes Agricultural Trust, a Director of Montrose Associates, J.S.R. Farms Ltd and Quarryside Farms Ltd. As the OU's Pro-Chancellor he is a member of the University's Finance, Membership, Remuneration, and Strategic Planning and Resources Committees.