Former Solas Chief Executive Paul O'Toole will take up the role as CEO of the HEA at the end of October.

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) has announced the appointment of Paul O’Toole as interim CEO following the departure of Dr Graham Love, who left the position after less than 18 months.

The HEA announced today that Mr O’Toole will begin in the role with effect from the end of this month. He will be appointed on an interim basis for a period of one year. The HEA stated that Mr O’Toole will also assist in the recruitment process for a permanent Chief Executive for the Authority.

The Chairperson of the HEA, Michael Horgan, stated: “I am delighted and grateful to Paul for agreeing to take on this role and assisting the HEA during this transition period. Paul’s knowledge of the education and training sectors will be of great value and I very much look forward to working with him.”

The HEA is due to publish its new strategy for 2018 – 2022, which O’Toole will be tasked with implementing. The strategy will include the implementation of new performance indicators developed alongside Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

Mr O’Toole will also join the Authority as it begins the introduction of new ‘Technological Universities’ and implementation of higher education reforms.

Mr O’Toole is a former Chief Executive Officer of SOLAS, a state-run agency with responsibility for planning and coordinating further education and training. SOLAS was established in 2013 following the dissolution of the Training and Employment Authority, FÁS.

Former CEO, Dr Graham Love left his position in the HEA in late August this year, expressing his regret over the decision.

In his statement, he said that in his “brief tenure” he had “endeavoured to make strategic development a core element of HEA activities”. Chairman Michael Horgan stated that Dr Love had “significantly contributed to the development of the higher education system in Ireland”. The Authority, Horgan said, was “sad and disappointed” over his decision to leave.