Warwickshire College principal in sudden ‘leave of absence’

Warwickshire College principal Mariane Cavali. Picture submitted.
Warwickshire College principal Mariane Cavali. Picture submitted.

Warwickshire College’s principal Mariane Cavalli has taken a sudden “temporary leave of absence” just weeks after the college announced it is facing millions of pounds of debt.

Starting with immediate effect, the principal and CEO, who took up her role in 2010, will be replaced on an interim basis by former chair of governors Sue Georgious. The college has a campus in Technology Drive, Rugby, as well as others in Leamington, Henley-in-Arden, Moreton Morrell and Pershore, Worcestershire.

It is understood the board of governors broke the news to staff in an email on Friday morning.

A spokesperson from Warwickshire College confirmed the departure but did not comment on the reasons behind it, stating only that more details will be made known next week.

Their statement read: “The board of governors of Warwickshire College can confirm that the principal and CEO Mariane Cavalli has taken a temporary leave of absence from the college with immediate effect.

“The governing body has appointed Sue Georgious, the college’s former chair of governors, as interim principal to lead the college during this time.

“Sue knows the college well and is deeply committed to it having previously been chair of the governing body and a governor since September 2011.

“Sue has extensive experience in the further education sector having begun her working life as a teacher in schools and progressing to adult learning working in a variety of senior management roles.”

The college offers education and training for adults and teenagers across six sites including in Leamington and Warwick.

In May it announced it must make savings of at least £3 million after changes in Government funding.

Management at the college - which employes more than 1,700 staff and works with more than 20,000 students - admitted it was in financial difficulty and that job losses would be inevitable.

Speaking after her appointment on Friday, Sue said: “The governing body has asked me to lead the college during this interim period and I look forward to working with the staff across our six centres.

“We recognise this is a challenging time for the FE sector and the college, I believe though that we have a strong and skilled governing body and management team which are well equipped to take the college through the changes we face ahead.”

Steve Wood, previously vice chair of the governing body, has been elected as the new chair of governors.

Last year Warwickshire College recently won praise during a visit by Business Secretary Vince Cable for “helping to shape the economy and create employers of tomorrow”.