The dean of Bradford's renowned business school is leaving to take up a new post in China.

Dr Sarah Dixon, who joined the University of Bradford School of Management in 2010, will leave at the end of the year to head up a new joint venture between Liverpool University and Xi’an Jiaotong University in Suzhou, an industrial city near Shanghai.

She has been charged with doubling the size of the Chinese business school, which has around 1,000 students and 50 staff, over the next three years.

Dr Dixon will become Professor of Strategic Management and dean of the XJTLU Business School in January. It is part of an institution which has 6,000 students, including 2,300 new students who started at the beginning of the current academic year.

She will lead the rebranding and development of the current Department of Business, Economics and Management into a fully-fledged business school. Her other key task will be to increase XJTLU Business School's international reach in research and industrial collaboration.

Dr Dixon said: “I am really excited about joining XJTLU and looking forward to supporting the development of the newly created business school.

“There are so many opportunities to grasp, building on the strengths of the two founding partners, Xi’an Jiaotong University and Liverpool University, to create a school that is international in outlook, conducting leading edge research in business, management and economics, and engaging in rich interchange with businesses and non profit organisations.”

Dr Dixon’s appointment as the dean of Bradford School of Management brought the former international businesswoman back to the university where she studied languages between 1971 and 1975. She succeeded the previous long-serving dean Professor Arthur Francis after moving from the University of Bath where she was head of MSc programmes.

Dr Dixon is a former strategist with oil giant Shell spending 23 years in various roles.

The search for a new dean at Bradford has begun and in the meantime the role will be filled by the deputy dean Prof Jon Reast, professor of marketing. Dr Dixon said: “He will take over as acting dean when I leave the university at the end of December and the school will be in excellent hands. The process for appointing a new dean is currently underway.”

Dr Dixon was recruited for the Chinese post by UK-based global recruitment consultancy Perrett Laver which is also recruiting for other senior academic positions at XJTLU.