Campus & community, Campus news

Former Haas dean named new campus innovation officer

Lyons will will develop and communicate Berkeley’s rich portfolio of innovation and entrepreneurship

Rich Lyons looking at the camera

Rich Lyons, a former dean of the Haas School of Business, will be UC Berkeley’s new innovation chief. (UC Berkeley photo by Noah Berger)

Vice Chancellor for Research Randy Katz issued the following message to the campus community:

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Richard K. Lyons as UC Berkeley’s first-ever Chief Innovation and Entrepreneurship Officer (CIEO).

In this new role, effective January 1, 2020, Rich will work with campus partners to further develop and communicate Berkeley’s rich portfolio of innovation and entrepreneurship activities to the benefit of our students, faculty, staff, and startups. He will also be responsible for developing strategies to raise the visibility of these activities internally and externally and to create high-value partnerships with stakeholders. As Rich said in his interview, ‘if together we can improve the transformation of Berkeley’s prodigious intellectual product, across the whole campus, into greater societal benefit, then we will have achieved a great deal’.

Many of you know Rich Lyons, a Professor of Economics and Finance, as Berkeley’s former Dean of the Haas School of Business. He held this role for eleven years, during which time he devoted his energy, enthusiasm, and collaborative spirit to advancing both the Haas School’s and the campus’ larger innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Rich also served as Co-Chair of the recent campus-wide Strategic Planning process and served previously as a member of the Academic Senate’s Divisional Council.

Among his many accomplishments as Dean, Rich helped launch the Management, Entrepreneurship, & Technology (M.E.T.) dual-degree program in partnership with the College of Engineering. He also initiated the Biology + Business dual degree program with Molecular & Cell Biology and revitalized the Berkeley-Haas Entrepreneurship Program (BHEP). In collaboration with leadership in the Office of Research and College of Engineering, Rich helped the campus to launch the Berkeley SkyDeck startup accelerator in 2012 and served on its Governing Board.

Rich was selected for the CIEO position through a rigorous recruitment and selection process that attracted several hundred top-notch applications from all over the world. Throughout the process, Rich stood out as a true visionary, a strategic leader and an ecosystem evangelist who could understand and activate the untapped potential of Berkeley’s innovation and entrepreneurship landscape. Rich possesses the needed combination of leadership, collaborative approach, ability to effectively motivate, and a demonstrated track record for creating and leading positive change. I believe his appointment will be a game changer for Berkeley.

A Cal Bear, Rich, first came to Berkeley to pursue his Bachelor of Science in Business and Finance. He later earned his PhD in Economics from MIT. His most recent research explores how leaders drive innovation and set behavioral norms and culture. As Dean of Haas, Rich anchored the culture of Berkeley Haas with four defining principles: Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself, which have served to differentiate Berkeley Haas from its peers, and shape its students as they learn to become innovative leaders of the future. Impressively, Rich also brought in eight of the 10 largest philanthropic gifts in the School’s history.

I am pleased that Rich will step into a part-time, transitional role as Faculty Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Research for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, effective July 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019, while he fulfills a Fall semester teaching commitment. In this role, he will begin reaching out to campus and external stakeholders to initiate conversations and partnerships that he will continue developing when he officially assumes the role of CIEO, effective January 1, 2020.

I am thrilled that Rich has accepted this important position for the campus, and am confident that his experience, enthusiasm, and talent will help launch Berkeley’s innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem into a new era, where Berkeley is known nationally and internationally as THE BEST place on the planet for students and faculty to pursue innovation and entrepreneurship.

Please join me in welcoming Rich to his new role on campus.


Randy Howard Katz
Vice Chancellor for Research