September 14, 2021

Sean Carr has been named Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Global Innovation Exchange (GIX). Carr will assume the role in January 2022 and will be based at the Steve Ballmer Building, GIX’s home in Bellevue, Washington.

“GIX is a wonderful example of how the UW maximizes impact through partnership and academic innovation,” said University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce. “Sean’s unique blend of academic, strategic and administrative leadership experience, coupled with his commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship, make him the perfect leader to take GIX to the next level.”

“GIX exemplifies a next-generation educational model promoting academic innovation and international collaboration,” said Tsinghua University President Qiu Yong. “Tsinghua is delighted to welcome Sean’s appointment and looks forward to our continuing collaboration to build a more profound global influence of GIX.”

Established in 2017 by the UW, Tsinghua University and Microsoft, GIX offers two graduate programs as well as professional learning programs that help industry leaders respond to rapid technological change, solve complex problems and innovate from within.

Carr’s appointment as a full-time, dedicated executive leader for GIX marks a key milestone for this unique educational partnership. Following his arrival early next year, he will be working closely with the GIX team, industry leaders and global partners to embark upon the next phase of impact for GIX. This will include growing its innovative master’s programs, developing state-of-the-art executive training programs, and fostering an environment to support the incubation of innovative ideas and companies.

“The vision for GIX is and always has been to build a future model for higher education in which universities, students and companies work collectively to push the boundaries of innovation,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith. “Sean is the right person to lead GIX into the future. He believes, like I do, in the power of project-based learning to help students tackle the real-world problems we face today.”

“I am humbled by the opportunity to be working with such an exceptional team of staff and faculty, as well as industry and academic partners, building together upon GIX’s already-strong foundation,” Carr said. “At the same time, I am profoundly energized by the scale, scope and global impact we can achieve as we enable GIX to reach its full potential.”

Carr currently serves as Executive Director of the Batten Institute for entrepreneurship, innovation and technology at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, where he has served as an administrator and faculty member since 2013. Prior to his academic career, he spent nearly a decade in the media industry with ABC News and CNN. Sean holds a Ph.D. in management and an MBA from UVA Darden, a master’s degree from Columbia University, as well as a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University.

Shwetak Patel, the Washington Research Foundation Entrepreneurship Endowed Professor in Computer Science & Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering at the UW, will continue in his interim executive director capacity until Carr arrives, before transitioning back to GIX’s faculty lead and Chief Technology Officer.