UVA Darden School’s Batten Institute Announces New Executive Director and Leadership Appointments

08 October 2013

The Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business today announced a leadership transition and associated appointments at one of the world’s top entrepreneurship institutes for research and experiential programs. Three key expansions and changes in responsibilities are:

  • Michael Lenox, Batten Institute executive director, will assume the role of academic director of the Batten Institute, in addition to serving as associate dean of innovation programs at Darden.
  • Sean Carr, director of intellectual capital and research, will become executive director of the Batten Institute and assistant professor of business administration at Darden.
  • Philippe Sommer, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) and the W.L. Lyons Brown III Innovation Laboratory (i.Lab) at UVA, housed at Darden’s Batten Institute, will take on additional responsibilities as associate, entrepreneurship programs, with U.Va. Innovation, within the UVA Office of the Vice President for Research.

“It is my pleasure to announce an evolution in the leadership at the Batten Institute reflected in new roles for Michael Lenox, Sean Carr and Philippe Sommer,” said Darden Dean Robert F. Bruner. “With today’s announcement, we are able to transition from strength to strength as we change executive directors and redeploy our leadership in new roles. As the Batten Institute’s third executive director — the longest tenure for a faculty member in this position — Mike Lenox has advanced the Batten Institute’s focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, expanding the i.Lab to include the entire University of Virginia and local community and establishing a dedicated focus on entrepreneurial research and scholarship.”

“Philippe Sommer’s added responsibility at UVA Innovation recognizes his tireless efforts to partner in building the entrepreneurial ecosystem across all UVA,” continued Bruner. “And Sean Carr, having elevated the institute’s intellectual contributions, is ideally suited to step into the role of executive director in charge of the day-to-day operations of Batten. In collaboration with Mike and Philippe, he will shape the strategic vision for the institute and will be a leader in efforts to raise the visibility and impact of Batten among its many stakeholders.”

Batten and its affiliated entities have seen notable achievements over the past five years, including the expansion of the i.Lab, the No. 5 ranking of Darden’s entrepreneurship program by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine, and the creation and advancement of high-impact conferences and conversations about entrepreneurship and innovation. Such thought leadership gatherings include Darden’s annual Entrepreneurship Conference, the Jefferson Innovation Summit, Innovators Roundtable, and the Darden Entrepreneurship and Innovation Research Conference.

A recipient of the 2013 Kauffman Dissertation Fellowship for his work in crowdfunding, Sean Carr is also co-author with Bruner of The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned From the Market’s Perfect Storm. Carr is a Darden alumnus (MBA `03, Ph.D .`13) and holds a B.A. from Northwestern University and an M.S. from Columbia University. He worked previously as a producer for ABC News in New York and for CNN in Washington, D.C.

Sommer serves as director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and i.Lab, which oversees Darden’s entrepreneurship program as well as its broader educational efforts around entrepreneurship. Prior to joining Darden, Sommer was a founding partner of WestMed Venture Funds, publicly registered life-sciences venture-capital funds affiliated with CIBC/Oppenheimer Inc., and was director of business development at Pfizer HPG Inc. He holds an MBA from Columbia University.

“Philippe Sommer works extensively with UVA Innovation and the larger UVA community on new university-wide entrepreneurship initiatives, such as the UVA Entrepreneurship Cup and the Venture Summit,” said Mark Crowell, executive director of UVA Innovation. “We are delighted to make this collaboration between UVA Innovation, Darden and the Batten Institute more strategic.”

In addition to his leadership responsibilities at the Batten Institute, Michael Lenox has served as the course head for Darden’s core MBA strategy course. Last July, Lenox’s massive open online course “Foundations of Business Strategy” was ranked No. 10 in enrollment by Bloomberg. Lenox also serves as the founder and president of the Alliance for Research and Corporate Sustainability (ARCS). Lenox came to Darden in 2008 from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and he has also served as an assistant professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business and visiting professor at Harvard University, Oxford University and IMD. Lenox has had his research appear in more than 25 refereed academic publications. He received a Ph.D. in technology management and policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Press Contact

Sophie Zunz
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia