University of Sussex appoints first director of external relations

The University of Sussex has created its first director of external relations role, promoting Michelle Gordon to the position.

Michelle Gordon: Appointed University of Sussex's director of external relations
Michelle Gordon: Appointed University of Sussex's director of external relations

Gordon has been the university's director of comms and external affairs for the past three years, but in her new guise takes on additional responsibilities, leading a newly formed external relations division.

The division brings together under one roof internal and external comms, brand, publications, marketing, digital, public affairs, community, campaigns, events, philanthropy, development and alumni relations.

Reporting to chief operating officer Tim Westlake, Gordon will also oversee and promote the university's approach to arts culture, notably its Attenborough Centre of the Creative Arts, and will continue to be part of the university's leadership team.

Gordon has 25 years' experience in PR and comms. She joined the university in 2014, having previously worked as director of comms and planning at Virgin Media, where she spent seven years. She has also worked agency side, at Hill+Knowlton, Gavin Anderson & Company and Burson-Marsteller.

Westlake said: "[Michelle] has a strong understanding of what Sussex means to so many of our audiences and her ambition for what we can achieve presents some really exciting opportunities for us as we pursue our long-term strategic goals."

Gordon added: "The university is in a strong position to make more of a difference to our students, staff, alumni and partners, as well as the many communities on our doorstep and around the world.

"There is a spirit at Sussex that I feel is unique and gives the institution a distinctive identity, particularly in an environment where it’s often hard to stand out from the rest."

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