MacLeod joins the body on 19 March directly from The Guardian, where he has been since 1993. Prior to this he was at The Independent and The Scotsman.
He will be in charge of comms for the body that represents the UK’s most prestigious universities.
MacLeod said: 'How could anyone resist a job promoting some of the best universities in the country, and indeed the world?'
He replaces Jonathan Ray, who only joined the body in January. Ray left at the beginning of the month, after finding the commute from his home in Nottingham too much of a strain for him and his young family.
Instead, Ray will start as director of corporate comms at Cambridgeshire Constabulary from mid-April.