Fred Hilmer to chair Group of Eight as UQ’s VC makes early exit

Fred Hilmer, who has replaced Paul Greenfield as the chair of the Group of Eight. AAP/Mick Tsikas.

The Group of Eight alliance of universities that dominate research funding today appointed as its new chairman, Professor Fred Hilmer, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of New South Wales.

Professor Hilmer, a former chief executive of Fairfax and former Dean of UNSW’s Graduate School of Management, replaces Professor Paul Greenfield, the University of Queensland’s Vice-Chancellor. Professor Greefield will next month leave his university post following a scandal in which he was found to have made a phone call that resulted in a family member being admitted into medicine despite not having met the entry requirements.

The Group of Eight confirmed their faith in Professor Greenfield as chair in November, but he later brought forward his scandal-triggered resignation at UQ from May next year to January, issuing a statement that it had “become increasingly difficult for me to serve as vice-chancellor.”

Professor Hilmer will chair the Group of Eight in 2012 and 2013, the alliance said in a release. Professor Hilmer holds a law degree from the University of Sydney, a Masters of law from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of Finance.

Professor Ed Byrne, Vice-Chancellor of Monash University, will be Deputy Chair with special responsibilities for relations with Universities Australia, a non-exclusive representational body.