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Michael Izza and Sarah Pritchard new professors in practice

The School has strengthened an already impressive roster of industry experts with the appointment of two new financial sector experts to its Professor in Practice initiative.

The Department of Finance appointed Sarah Pritchard, Executive Director of Markets and Executive Director of International at the Financial Conduct Authority to work with the Department while the Department of Accounting appointed Michael Izza, Chief Executive at the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales.

New appointments

Both Sarah and Michael will each join the School’s faculty for a three-year term, ahead of the beginning of the 2023/24 academic year. 

The Professors in Practice initiative brings experienced professionals from across a wide variety of disciplines and sectors into the Business School and the classroom to share their skills, insights and knowledge directly with students, supplementing a rigorous academic curriculum with a first-hand, senior-level insight into current industry thinking.  

Sarah Pritchard

Finance’s new Professor in Practice brings with her a wealth of expertise and insight built through a highly successful career across investigative, operational and legal roles in a range of government departments and in the private sector. She has focused extensively on financial crime, as the first Director of the UK's National Economic Crime Centre, as well as holding global financial crime leadership roles in banking. She has also spent time as a commercial litigator and investigative lawyer in government. 

Upon her appointment, Sarah Pritchard said; 

“I am honoured to be a part of this initiative at Durham University, which will provide students with the opportunity to gain insight and first-hand knowledge about how the UK regulatory framework for the financial services industry operates to help markets function well. I'm really looking forward to sharing how the FCA is changing to be a data led, outcomes focused and national regulator, with locations in London, Leeds and Edinburgh. I'm also keen to hear from students about their view of the future skills and capabilities needed to continue to adapt to the changing nature of the financial services industry, and the opportunities and challenges of increased digitisation. I look forward to working with Durham University and their students in the years ahead." 

Professor Julian Williams, Head of Department, Department of Finance added; 

“We’re delighted to welcome Sarah as a Professor in Practice. The importance of the financial services sector to the UK economy and the need for careful, evidence led regulation has never been more crucial to our economic wellbeing than now. As we face the many and varied ongoing global challenges, Sarah brings a wealth of experience to our department and this appointment is a catalyst for increasing the impact of our teaching and research. Finally, I want to thank all my colleagues who have worked with Sarah and assisted in making this wonderful appointment happen.” 

Michael Izza 

The Department of Accounting’s first appointee, Michael, is a Durham Law graduate. He returns to Durham after a highly successful career in the accounting and finance sectors. His career has had a global impact, holding roles as the Chairman of Chartered Accountants Worldwide, alongside his position with the ICAEW.  

Upon his appointment, Michael Izza said;  

“Good exchanges between academia and the accountancy profession has never been more important. The world is already very complex, and the overlay of generative AI, Sustainability and the transition to net zero will present huge new opportunities and risks. It will be an honour to work alongside colleagues at Durham University Business School in seeking to understand these.” 

Professor Amir Michael, Head of Department, Department of Accounting acknowledge the value of the appointment, saying; 

“We are pleased to welcome Professor Michael Izza as our first professor in practice in the accounting department. Michael will be a great addition to the department leveraging on his wealth of experience and enormous network. Michael’s expertise will contribute to the department strategic themes around accountability, sustainability, and digitalisation. We are looking forward to working with Professor Izza and introducing him to our department staff, students, alumni and our wider stakeholders.” 

Professors in Practice 

The initiative, which has been a staple of the School’s educational delivery for six years has become a vital means of ensuring the academic curriculum across each of the School’s well-established business and management programmes can continue to both meet and reflect of the modern demands of industry and to help students build the right skills, perspectives and attitudes for the future. 

The initiative provides a further opportunity for the University’s faculty to directly connect with business practice and public policy, enabling their research to have an actionable, positive impact on society. 

Dr Joanna Berry, Associate Dean for External Engagement commenting on the initiative, said; 

“Our Professors in Practice represent a significant “brains trust” and provide valuable insight into the world of professional practice in each of their specific areas. We are hugely appreciative of their time and efforts to support our student’s career prospects by bringing knowledge, intelligence and perspective about their industry into our classrooms through guest lectures, masterclasses, one to one mentoring and student conversations.” 

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