The Institute of Directors (IoD) has named Dr Joanna Berry as its chairman for the North East.

Dr Berry is an associate professor in entrepreneurship at Durham University Business School. She was previously lecturer in management at Newcastle University Business School and has held several private sector roles.

She succeeds Graham Robb following the completion of his three-year term as chairman.

Dr Berry is an Oxford University law graduate with an entrepreneurial flair for science, creativity and technology, underpinned by long-term exposure to new developments in media, marketing and advertising.

Upon appointment, her top priorities are to drive entrepreneurship and innovation in the North East business community, encourage young directors and support women into the boardroom.

She will support IoD membership growth whilst engaging with members across the region, implementing and supporting IoD policies, standards and initiatives.

Dr Berry said: “The IoD is an integral, respected and increasingly important part of the UK’s business landscape. In the face of massive political and societal change this organisation could not be more relevant.

“I am keen to encourage young directors to participate and make sure their voice is heard. I also want to support and encourage deserving women into the boardroom while ensuring that schools and universities encourage students to aim for the top in business, to influence future business practice and policy.”

Dr Berry has issued a call for young directors in the North East to enter the IoD’s Young Director of the Year awards, part of the prestigious Yorkshire and North East Director of the Year Awards.

The awards recognise individuals who have displayed the highest standards of leadership in business, public and third sectors.

The winners will be announced on 22 June and go forward to the national IoD Director of the Year Awards, where they could follow in the footsteps of Dan Robinson of Hartlepool-based Gus Robinson Developments, and Stewart McNicholl, of ASKAMS Compliance Services, who have both triumphed at the UK finals.

Natalie Sykes, regional director of the IoD in Yorkshire and the North East, said: “Dr Joanna Berry is an inspirational and entrepreneurial leader who will do an outstanding job in leading our North East regional committee.

“She will be a strong voice for regional businesses and an excellent collaborator with other regional stakeholders such as LEPs, public sector bodies and universities.

“I’m looking forward to working together to embed the IoD’s Royal Charter further in the North East and enhance the region’s position within the Northern Powerhouse.”