The CSIRO announced Thursday that technology innovator and venture capitalist Dr Larry Marshall would take over as its CEO from Dr Megan Clark in January 2015, in an effort to increase the body’s focus on commercialising innovation.
Chairman Simon McKeon says Marshall was chosen from a field of 70 candidates following an “extensive global search”, emphasising the organisation had been seeking someone who was both an innovative scientist and business leader.
Marshall is currently managing director of Southern Cross Venture Partners, an early stage venture capital firm specialising in creating Australian technology companies and growing them globally in Asia and the United States.
He was educated at Macquarie University in Sydney, where he took a doctorate in physics. Marshall began his career in the Defence Science and Technology Organisation and has 25 years’ experience as an international technology entrepreneur, holding 20 patents for commercial products generating over $200 million in revenue. He has also founded six successful companies in the United States in biotechnology, photonics, telecommunications and semiconductors, raising over $100 million in funding.
Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane praised the choice in a statement:
“Dr Marshall is a scientist who brings significant commercial experience to this role. In particular, his experience in Silicon Valley, R&D development and the commercialisation of products and ideas will be valuable in ensuring CSIRO rightfully claims its place at the centre of Australian industry policy, building new links between business and research organisations.”
McKeon also thanked current Clark for her leadership of CSIRO for the past six years. She leaves at the end of December:
“Dr Clark leaves CSIRO with a legacy to be proud of, most notably for her long term commitment to the global competitiveness of Australian science through the establishment of research precincts; and to major knowledge infrastructure projects such as the new research vessel.”
The appointment comes as the CSIRO is confronted with funding cuts after the government announced it would reduce its outlay by $111 million over four years.
You can read Marshall’s blog about his experiences as a venture capitalist here.