Former international businesswoman Dr Sarah Dixon is determined to enhance the global reputation of Bradford’s renowned business school even further when she takes the reins.

Her appointment as the next dean of the Bradford University School of Management will mean a return to the city where she studied languages at Bradford university between 1971 and 1975.

Dr Dixon, currently head of MSc programmes at the University of Bath, will succeed Prof Arthur Francis, who retires in September.

She is a former international strategist with oil giant Shell spending 23 years in a variety of roles including strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions and management posts in Austria and Russia Dr Dixon said she was committed to lifting the School of Management’s ranking in international business school league tables.

She said: “The School has an excellent reputation and I will build on this and try and improve its ranking through ensuring that our programmes are second to none.

“I also want to enhance the experience of all students, from undergraduates to those taking their Masters. Students are much more demanding these days and having excellent facilities is essential. I’m delighted that the new extension at the School will helps us achieve this.”

Getting businesses more closely involved with the School of Management will also be high on her ‘to do’ list. She said: “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.”

Retiring dean Prof Arthur Francis said Dr Dixon’s academic and corporate experience was what modern business schools required.

He 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 espouse but so few have actually achieved.

“We’re certain it will continue to strengthen our business relationships as well as encourage business people to look at developing academic careers.”

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.”