17/10/2011 16:10 BST | Updated 17/12/2011 10:12 GMT

Paul Marshall, 1994 Group Executive Director, To Step Down

The executive director of the 1994 Group of the 19 leading research universities announced on Monday he would be stepping down.

Paul Marshall, who was appointed in 2006, will be leaving in January 2012 and is the group's first executive director.

The 1994 Group was established to "promote excellence" in university research and teaching. Universities represented by the group include Bath, York, Exeter and Royal Holloway and 12 of those represented were featured in the Guardian's 2012 top 20 universities guide.

Marshall, who moves to the Association of Business Schools as chief executive, called his role a "privilege" and said he was "immensely proud" of the work the group had done.

"I am delighted with the success we have achieved. I am confident the group will go on to even greater success in the future as I take on an exciting new challenge."

Professor Paul Wellings, outgoing chair of the 1994 group described Marshall's contribution as "immense".

Wellings, who is also vice-chancellor of Lancaster University said: "I have been delighted to work with him during my time as chair. Paul has established the group as one of the most influential voices in higher education."

"His knowledge of the sector is unparalleled", he added. "I wish him the very best."