The Vice-Chancellor of City University London was forced to resign because of “differing views on matters of governance” with the university council.
University sources said that Professor Malcolm Gillies had been keen to secure more resources for frontline teaching and research but that his plans had been hampered by a university board made up mainly of business figures and lawyers.
Professor Gillies, who was appointed Vice-Chancellor less than two years ago, will continue as Professor of Music until January.
The university council said it had "mutually agreed" with Professor Gillies that he should step down with immediate effect.
They said that the board was staffed mostly by business figures and lawyers, while Professor Gillies came from an academic background.
In the past ten years the number of employees at the university has rocketed but the proportion of teaching staff has fallen. Professor Gillies was apparently keen to secure more resources for frontline teaching and research.
One member of staff said: “We’re devastated by the news. He was always keen to hear people’s opinions - both staff and students. Many of the academics will be deeply disappointed and upset. He was universally felt to be good for the university.”
Apurv Bagri, the acting chairman of the university council, said: “Malcolm has played an important role in the growing success of the university and, together with council, he has ensured a strong focus on the core activities of education and research.
“We thank Malcolm for his hard work and wish him well for the future.”Professor Gillies said in a statement: “City University London has proven a model for several other institutions. It has a great body of staff and students and virtually every indicator is now pointing upwards. Long may that continue."