Former Haas dean appointed as UC Berkeley’s 1st chief innovation and entrepreneurship officer

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On Tuesday, a UC Berkeley press release announced that the former dean of the Haas School of Business, Richard Lyons, has been appointed as UC Berkeley’s first chief innovation and entrepreneurship officer, or CIEO.

A UC Berkeley alumnus, Lyons is a professor of economics and finance in the Haas School of Business, where he served as dean for 11 years, according to the press release. 

According to Vice Chancellor for Research Randy Katz, the position of CIEO was established to enhance communication between departments and programs at UC Berkeley to create a unified vision for the campus. 

“The CIEO role has two parts: to be an evangelist for Berkeley entrepreneurship to the outside world of the Bay area, National, and International Innovation Ecosystem, and to work on advancing our campus culture for entrepreneurship and innovation,” Katz said in an email forwarded by campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof. 

Lyons served as a member of the Academic Senate’s Divisional Council and was the co-chair of the recent campuswide strategic planning initiative, according to the press release.

Lyons has striven to enhance campus entrepreneurship and innovation throughout his career at UC Berkeley, according to the press release. Lyons has also helped launch entrepreneurship programs, such as the Berkeley SkyDeck startup accelerator in 2012. 

“Rich Lyons is perfect for this role: he deeply believes in the entrepreneurship and innovation mission of the university; he is an outstanding communicator of that vision, and knows how (to) develop organizational cultural values as he did so amazingly well at Haas,” Katz said in the email.

In his new role as CIEO, Lyons will work with campus partners to further strengthen Berkeley’s innovation and entrepreneurship activities while developing strategies to raise awareness about these activities on a larger scale, according to the press release. 

Katz is hoping that the role of CIEO will directly benefit students and faculty by providing greater opportunities for them to realize their entrepreneurial ambitions. 

“We want to create opportunities so that every student who wants to pursue entrepreneurship will have plenty of opportunities to develop their skills and have the support they need to launch their entrepreneurial vision,” Katz said in the email. “The CIEO will help us identify holes in our existing ecosystem, and will help us obtain the resources to fill those (holes).”

Before officially assuming the role of CIEO on Jan. 1, 2020, according to the press release, Lyons will work in a part-time, transitional role as faculty assistant to the vice chancellor for research for innovation and entrepreneurship until Dec. 31. In this role, he will begin developing partnerships with stakeholders that will carry over into his official position as CIEO, according to the press release.

Contact Sydney Hilbush at [email protected].