The West Pier Trust has a new chairman and new premises on Brighton seafront.
The trust said: “Michael will lead in forging bonds between the trust, the city of Brighton and Hove and the wider national and international heritage and arts communities.
“We’re thrilled he has agreed to take the helm in this exciting period in the trust’s history.”
Professor Farthing, 69, a doctor, medical researcher and academic administrator, spent nine years at the helm of the university.
He was responsible for doubling student numbers and driving the regeneration and opening of the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts.
He said: “It was a real honour to be invited to join the West Pier Trust team at such an exciting time in its history.
“The opportunities to develop the trust and its assets for the benefit of Brighton and its visitors have never been better, thanks to the devoted stewardship of the trust by my predecessors, who kept their nerve during some challenging times.
“Now we will need bold ideas and strong support from our members and the wider community to secure the glittering future.”
He replaces Glynn Jones, the former chief executive of Brighton and Hove City Council and ex-chairman of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust.
Dr Jones is stepping down after 15 years as a trustee and 12 years chairing the trust.
The West Pier Trust said: “Glynn’s vision and ambition has been critical to the regeneration of the West Pier site.
“First approaching Marks Barfield with the idea of the West Pier site as a potential location for a new observation attraction, Glynn was the first to conceive of the BAi360 as a worthy successor in design and engineering to the original West Pier.”
The trust also said: “After many years without a permanent base, we couldn’t be happier that the West Pier Trust is at last moving to its brand new seafront arch to the east of BAi360.
“From office and information point, to a shop, gallery and events venue – the West Pier Centre will be an attraction for tourists, as well as a valuable community resource honouring the pier’s cultural contribution to the city and its heritage.
“We have many more plans for the centre once it is up and running this summer and hope to see as many of you as possible there in the coming months.”