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Top business school appoints former Shell executive as new Dean

8 February 10

Dr Sarah Dixon

Bradford University School of Management has appointed a former international strategist from Shell as its new dean. Dr Sarah Dixon, currently head of MSc programmes at the University of Bath, will join the School in September 2010 when Professor Arthur Francis retires.

Her appointment is seen as a public commitment to ensure the business relevance of the School - which ranks among the UK's top ten business schools, as well as its continuing academic excellence and high ranking research.

Arthur Francis said:  "Sarah Dixon has that rare mix of first rate business experience with a successful transition into academia.  Her career represents exactly what many bodies, including the Economic and Social Research Council and the Foundation for Management Education espouse, but so few have actually achieved.  We are certain it will continue to strengthen our business relationships as well as encourage business people to look at developing academic careers."

Dr Dixon was first attracted to an academic career when she completed her MBA at Kingston University, subsequently joining them where she held a variety of roles, culminating in director of postgraduate programmes for the Faculty of Business and Law. Having gained a DBA from Henley Business School in the interim, she went on to intensify her research activity at the University of Bath where she took on the role of head of MSc programmes.   

Her business career at Royal Dutch Shell Group included petrochemicals business management in Vienna and Moscow and later positions in strategic planning and mergers & acquisitions in London.  She moved into business consulting as director of the strategy consultancy, Albany Dixon Ltd.

Sarah Dixon said:  "I am excited to be joining this top-ranking business school with its established reputation of excellence.

"We are operating in an increasingly challenging environment with government funding cuts and international competition.  My intention is to encourage innovation across all areas of activity and increase our co-operation with business, public and third sector organisations.  In the jargon of a business strategist, I am keen to secure sustainable competitive advantage for the School."

A linguist, Sarah Dixon is returning to her roots - she achieved her BA in Russian and German from the University of Bradford.  She also speaks French and is learning Mandarin.

Professor Mark Cleary, vice-chancellor at the University of Bradford, said:  "Sarah's appointment is unusual in that she has not followed the traditional academic route for becoming a dean.  This will be a great strength for the School and for implementing the business engagement strategy led by Arthur Francis.

"We owe a great debt of gratitude to Arthur for his leadership in strengthening the School of Management¿s position in the UK¿s top league.  Handing over to Sarah, with her wide experience of academic roles and the corporate world, will ensure the School continues to move up this league."

8 February 10

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