A major row is believed to have erupted among senior figures at Oxford University, following the abrupt departure of the don leading its £1.25 billion fundraising drive.
Dr Jon Dellandrea had been heading the huge campaign to secure the university’s future until it was suddenly announced that he would be leaving his post as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Development and External Affairs this coming autumn.
Sources indicated today that the reasons for his departure were related to a disagreement with the Michael Moritz – the 53-year-old Californian dotcom multi-millionaire who recently donated £25 million pounds to Christ Church College.
Moritz, the newly appointed head of Oxford’s fundraising effort in North America, had been due to work alongside Dr Dellandrea but was apparently reluctant to do so due to personal differences.
In one alleged telephone conversation between the pair, the American tycoon is even purported to have called Dellandrea “obtuse” and “uncooperative.”
The Christ Church alumnus has also expressed public concern that his donation – one of the largest gifts ever received by a British university – was not being properly managed.
Speaking in July, he revealed that he had only opened his pockets on condition that the money was properly handled in a new university-wide asset management fund.
He said: “I made it quite clear to Christ Church that despite all its best efforts, noble intentions and hard work, its money needed to be managed in a much improved fashion.”
Dr Dellandrea, a Canadian, was appointed amid much fanfare by Vice-Chancellor John Hood in December 2004, after he oversaw a hugely successful drive to raise £500 million pounds for the University of Toronto.
Since then he is said to have built Oxford University’s development office into the world’s largest, employing more than 80 staff, whilst also enjoying a chauffeured car and six-figure salary.
Asked to comment on the allegations this afternoon a spokesmen from the University of Oxford refused to give any further comment.
A statement released by the university insisted last week that Dr Dellandrea was leaving to take up “international consultancies.”
It added that over half of the initially targeted £1.25 billion had already been raised.