Dawson has been vice-president of IGD for the last two years and succeeds Booker Group, chief executive, Charles Wilson to serve in the role for the next two years.
Dawson joined the Mars graduate scheme straight from Trinity College, Dublin in 1988 and apart from two years spent with PepsiCo in the early 1990s, she has remained with the company in various roles across the European business ever since.
Commenting on her appointment, Dawson said: “I am especially delighted to have the opportunity to help IGD work with industry, to deliver in areas like nutrition, sustainability and skills for genuine public benefit.”
ASDA chief executive Andy Clarke will take over as vice-president.
Clarke said he was “delighted” to take on the role. “I am looking forward to working with Fiona and the team to drive key initiatives such as creating opportunities for young people, employability, health and sustainability,” he added.
Joanne Denney-Finch, IGD chief executive, said: “I’m delighted to have such a strong presidential team supporting the work of IGD over the next two years.
“Both Fiona and Andy have been keen supporters of IGD and our charitable activities for many years. I welcome them to their new roles and I welcome the opportunity to work even more closely with them in the future.”