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The University of Toronto has appointed its dean of Arts and Sciences, Meric Gertler, as its new president for the next five years. (University of Toronto)

The University of Toronto's new president is Meric Gertler, a world-renowned expert on urban issues and dean of the school's faculty of arts and sciences.

Gertler's five-year appointment was officially announced on Monday, making him the 16th president of the university.

He will succeed David Naylor, who has served as university president since 2005.

Gertler has been dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science since 2008, the university said in a release. He joined the faculty in 1983, after receiving his doctorate from Harvard University.

His academic work focuses on the "economics of cities, the urban foundations of innovation, and the role of creativity, culture and diversity in urban life," the university said.

"After an extensive international search, the fact we were able to find someone of Professor Gertler's stature right here is a testament to the depth of this great University," said David Wilson, chair of the Presidential Search Committee, in a statement.

Gertler said he is honoured.

"To be chosen to lead U of T during a time of great change in our sector is both challenging and exhilarating," he said.