Lou Cordwell, chair of the Greater Manchester Business Board, has been appointed Professor of Innovation at the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIOIR) at Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS) and Special Advisor to the Office of the President and Vice-Chancellor.
Her responsibilities include providing strategic guidance on innovation ecosystems to the University and contributing to the work of MIOIR and AMBS.
She will work with leaders across the University to advise on how the University can enhance its role as a key driver of the region’s economy, including by strengthening existing, and developing new, collaborative relationships with local and national government, business, and other external stakeholders.
She began her career working for WPP before founding the Manchester-based digital design studio magneticNorth (mN). In 2021, mN merged with Fluxx, creating the UK’s leading design and innovation consultancy, Magnetic, where Lou continues to be involved as Chief Creative Officer.
She has spent the past two years building a team and the strategic masterplan for ID Manchester, Europe’s most ambitious Innovation District project.
Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, said: “The wealth of experience she brings as an entrepreneur and innovator, and as a leading advocate for Greater Manchester on the national and international stage, will be enormously valuable as we work to further strengthen our role as a driver of prosperity for our region and the UK.”
Nancy Rothwell steps down this year and is to be replaced by Duncan Ivison who joins in August. It is often when an academic leader is new in post that they value the advice and support of a local heavyweight.
Professor Ken McPhail, Head of AMBS, added: “Innovation is very much at the heart of our purpose here at AMBS. We recognise the importance of this across our teaching, learning and engagement with the business world. Lou’s appointment and engagement with our colleagues and our students will help us in our work to redefine business through the lens of innovation and responsibility.”
Commenting on her appointment, Lou said: “The University is the most significant innovation asset in the UK’s second-largest city region, with a hugely important role in shaping and scaling the innovation ecosystems and impact of the city region and the UK.”
Lou is also an angel investor, particularly focusing on female tech founders. Lou was awarded an OBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours for services to the creative and digital economy.