Air Products executive to speak at Smeal College of Business

University Park, Pa. -- "Leadership in Focus: Executive Insights," the guest speaker series at the Penn State Smeal College of Business, will open its spring 2011 slate on Jan. 21 with Robert Dixon, senior vice president and general manager of Air Products and Chemicals Inc.

Dixon, a 1983 alumnus of the Smeal Master of Business Administration Program, will join James B. Thomas, the John and Becky Surma dean of Smeal, for an interactive on-stage conversation at 11:15 a.m. in 110 Business Building (Struthers Auditorium). The talk is free and open to the public.

Executive Insights, an initiative started in the 2006-2007 academic year, is designed to complement the Smeal educational experience by bringing high-profile business leaders to the college to connect with students, faculty and administrators to share some of their business expertise and experiences in leadership.

In addition to Dixon, the guests this semester are Donna Kalajian Lagani, senior vice president and publishing director of Cosmopolitan magazine, on March 18, and Edward Montgomery, dean of the Georgetown Public Policy Institute and former executive director of the White House Council for Auto Communities and Workers, on April 8.

Past speakers include Karen Peetz, senior executive vice president of The Bank of New York Mellon; Barry Salzberg, chief executive officer of Deloitte LLP; and John Surma, chairman and CEO of U.S. Steel.

Dixon was appointed vice president and general manager, Global Merchant Gases in October 2006. In this role, he has overall responsibility for developing and implementing strategy for Air Products' global merchant gases business. Continuing in his global role, Dixon was named senior vice president and general manager, Merchant Gases in October 2007. He is also a member of the company's Corporate Executive Committee.

Dixon joined Air Products in 1983 as a participant in the company's Career Development Program and subsequently held a variety of positions in controllership and treasury. In 1991, he was named vice president, finance for the company's Pure Air joint venture with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Inc. within Environmental and Energy Systems. Dixon became general manager of business development for the company's power generation business in 1993; group controller, general industries in 1996; and general manager, packaged gases in 1998. In 2001, he was appointed vice president-structured businesses, with responsibility for developing and executing deals that involve the significant use of third-party capital. In 2003 Dixon relocated to Singapore where he served as president, Air Products Asia. He returned to the company's U.S. corporate headquarters in June 2007.

Dixon serves on the boards of the National Association of Manufacturers and the International Oxygen Manufacturers Association. In his community, Dixon is a member of the Foundation Board of Northampton College. He also serves as chairman of the Boy Scouts Quality Steering Committee and is a member of their Executive Board.

In addition to his master of business administration degree from Smeal, Dixon holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Miami University. In 2006, he attended the INSEAD Advanced Management Program in Fontainebleau, France.

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Last Updated March 21, 2011