A cleric working in Liverpool is to move back to his Midland roots when he becomes the new Dean of Birmingham Cathedral.

Canon Robert Wilkes is a team rector in the Mossley Hill area of Liverpool and honorary canon of Liverpool Cathedral.

He was born and baptised in Redditch, Worcestershire, but also worked for the Church Mission Society in the Middle East and Pakistan, where he lived for a year.

As Dean, he will take overall responsibility for the life, worship and community of Birmingham Cathedral. The post is one of the most senior in the diocese.

His appointment follows the move of the Rt Rev Gordon Mursell from Dean of Birmingham Cathedral to be Bishop of Stafford, in the Lichfield Diocese.

The Bishop for Birmingham, the Rt Rev Dr John Sentamu, said: "I am delighted to welcome Bob to the diocese and the cathedral. His talents as a pastor, evangelist, communicator and manager will be a source of great blessing to us all as he takes on this pivotal role in the city of Birmingham." Canon Wilkes has also been chaplain and press officer to the former Bishop of Liverpool, the late Rt Rev David Sheppard and the Bishop of Raiwind, Pakistan, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, now Bishop of Rochester.

Canon Wilkes said he hoped his experience would prove an asset in sustaining inter-faith relations. "I hope that I can contribute helpfully as a colleague here, with those committed to effective urban ministry, to justice in international affairs and to open interfaith relations."

Canon Wilkes, aged 57, is married with four grown-up children. He will take up his post in the New Year.