Cox steers a new course for business schools

Sue Cox, Dean of Lancaster University Management School, discusses her new role as an EFMD vice president with George Bickerstaffe.

Sue Cox, Dean of Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) in Britain, has been appointed EFMD vice-president for academic affairs. The first woman to fill the role, she joins Thomas Sattelberger, the vice president for the EFMD’s corporate activities and a former board member for human resources at Deutsche Telekom in Germany.

The official appointment lauds Professor Cox’s “high professional qualities, outstanding achievements [and] commitment to EFMD”. All true, of course, but, unofficially, one cannot help thinking that the appointment really came about because she is such a nice normal person, capable of switching without missing a beat from the intricacies of managing a large business school to the equally byzantine ins-and-outs of coaching the England football squad. (She is a highly knowledgeable football fan and a long-time supporter of British Premier League team Stoke City, a mid-table outfit admired for its “direct” playing style.)

With Sattelberger continuing to overlook the corporate network, Professor Cox’s role leading EFMD’s academic network will involve the representation of business schools within EFMD and supporting the challenges involved in running a business school.

Interestingly, though, her experience gives her a foot in both the corporate and academic worlds. Although she has been dean at LUMS for 11 years and before that was Director of Loughborough Business School, also in Britain, her training was in organic chemistry and she worked for a time at Boots, a leading pharmaceutical and retail group. Her main professional interest was in planning and managing hazardous sites and she still advises the British government in this area.

But she has always been active in the management education field as well, combining heading LUMS with two terms as a member of the EFMD Awarding Body, chairing numerous EQUIS panels and working in collaboration with AACSB, the American accreditation body. She is also a former chair of Britain’s Association of Business Schools (ABS), a representative body for British business schools.

What this has taught her, she says, is that business schools can be very different from each other and need a representation and network that recognises that.

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