October 14, 2021 12.44 pm

Merger on the cards as Lincoln College CEO secures top job at Activate Learning

Lincoln could merge with seven colleges in the south

Lincoln College Group will begin exploring a merger with Activate Learning after CEO Gary Headland has secured the top job with the seven-strong college group.

Gary Headland has been at the helm of Lincoln College Group for seven years, and will begin his CEO role with Activate Learning from April 2022, kickstarting the merger process.

Activate Learning is made up of seven colleges in Banbury & Bicester, Bracknell, Farnham, Guildford, Merrist Wood, Oxford and Reading. Lincoln College has educational settings in the city, as well as in Newark, Gainsborough and the United Arab Emirates.

In his message informing staff about his appointment, Gary Headland said: “The past seven years with the Lincoln College Group have been some of the most challenging and satisfying years of the 35 years of my professional working life.

“What has made the experience extraordinary for me has been the exceptional quality of our staff and governors as well, of course, as our amazing students.”

A due diligence process carried out by both groups will now work to assess the joint benefits and risks of such a merger before the boards of each group decide on whether or not to proceed.

James Pinchbeck, Marketing Partner at Streets Chartered Accountants, Lincoln MP Karl McCartney, and Lincoln College Group CEO Gary Headland at the September 2021 graduation ceremony. | Photo: Lincoln College

James Pinchbeck, the Chair of the Board of Corporation of the Lincoln College Group, said: “Gary has been a highly effective CEO of the Lincoln College Group for the past seven years and has also been tremendously committed to the Greater Lincolnshire region through a wide range of voluntary commitments including the Chamber of Commerce, Local Enterprise Partnership, Institute of Directors, Royal British Legion, Lincoln Cathedral and the Lincolnshire Lieutenancy.

“Under his leadership, the high quality and relevance of the education and skills provided by the Lincoln College Group is widely recognised by students and employers and the organisation is financially healthy.

“The strategic and cultural alignment between Activate Learning and the Lincoln College Group is very strong and so our Board of Corporation has committed to explore the potential for merger between the two groups that Gary’s appointment creates.”

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