The move comes as it revamps its identity ahead of the introduction of top-up fees next year.
The university's previous top PRO, Cyrrhian Macrae, stepped down as corporate affairs director nine months ago. Stokes said: 'I have been brought in to help plan for the changes in the higher education sector and will be reviewing how we are perceived by potential students, their parents and businesses.'
He reports to vice-chancellor Madeline Atkins and is responsible for PR, marketing, web design, corporate development, graduate relations and fundraising. He is also reviewing the university's £1m advertising account, currently held by Euro RSCG Riley.
Stokes was marketing director at Lloydspharmacy from 1997 to 2003, before joining Age Concern, where he was part of a team responsible for establishing a strategic research unit.