The charity focuses on refugees in 'less fashionable parts of Africa and Asia'. A current relief effort involves war-torn Burundi.
CORD director Michael Godfrey said the Burundi effort is drawing on the charity's education, health and sustainability programmes elsewhere in Africa.
He added that Dickson would bring 'experience of both the charity and commercial sectors to us'.
Dickson joins from retirement housing charity, where he led a partnership with juice maker Innocent.
He has also held various senior sales and marketing positions in the financial services sector, notably with Barclays and AMP.