Professor Bernie Callaghan has announced he is stepping down as Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law at the University of Sunderland.
Professor Callaghan, who took up his post as Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law in December 2011, has played a central role in Wearside’s business community, encouraging the growth of key industries within the North East for more than 20 years.
Now, with the region emerging from the economic downturn, the Journal Business column writer said the time is right to take his career in a new direction in a move to Spain, where he and his wife own a home.
Professor Callaghan will, however, maintain business interests in the North East, as well as close connections with the university.
He said: “It was a hard call to make and we made the decision over the last year.
“It was the chance for a lifestyle change more than anything – the chance to give the children a bit of sunshine and a change of culture, and I’m all for broadening their horizons – while still retaining connections here in the North East.
“We will keep our house on here, and I still have business links interests here which I’ll maintain too.
“We still have our family businesses and I’ll also be a visiting professor at the university. They were very keen that I keep my links.
“I also have a couple of non-executive offers people have approached me about, and I’m going through those now. It wasn’t an easy decision but the time felt right.”
Professor Callaghan previously worked at Sunderland Business School in the 1990s, and followed that with a period as deputy director for the Centre for International Education at the University of Sunderland.
From 2000, he was chief executive officer at a North East digital and technology groups, managing the strategic development of a portfolio of companies and new product ideas.
In 2007, he was a member of the team that led an MBO of one of those companies, backed by a London-based private equity firm, and subsequently took on the role of international development director, where he spent a lot of time developing the business’ presence in the USA and Canada.
He took up the role of chief executive officer of Sunderland Software City in 2009, working with colleagues and partners to inspire and encourage the growth of the industry within the North East.
After securing new funding streams and overseeing the construction of the new Software Centre in the City of Sunderland, he returned to the University to take up the role of as Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law, a department which is now changing its name to the Sunderland International Business School.
Read Bernie Callaghan’s final column for Journal Business on Friday, June 6.