Charles R. Conn

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Charles R. Conn
Charles R. Conn.jpg
CEO of Oxford Sciences Innovation, Oxford
In office
Preceded byDavid Norwood
Warden of Rhodes House, Oxford
In office
Preceded byAndrew Graham
Succeeded byElizabeth Kiss
Senior Advisor to the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation
In office
CEO & Chairman, Ticketmaster Online-Citysearch
In office
Co-Founder & CEO, Citysearch
In office
Personal details
Born (1961-08-22) 22 August 1961 (age 60)
Alma materBoston University, Balliol College, Oxford and Harvard Business School

Charles R. Conn (born 22 August 1961) is a Canadian and American[1] CEO, conservationist and author.  In 2021 he co-founded and is partner of Monograph, a life sciences venture firm.[2] In 2019 he was the CEO of Oxford Sciences Innovation. Previously, he was the warden and global CEO of Rhodes House and the Rhodes Trust, the organization responsible for administering the Rhodes Scholarship from 2013 to 2018.[3]


Conn studied at Boston University's University Professors Program before reading philosophy, politics and economics at Balliol College, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar from Massachusetts.[4][5] Conn subsequently worked at the Boston Consulting Group and gained an MBA at Harvard Business School.[6]

Conn was a partner at McKinsey & Company.[3]He co-founded Citysearch in 1995,[7] Conn oversaw the merger with Ticketmaster, acquisition of and the company’s public share offering. He became chairman of Ticketmaster Online-Citysearch in 2001.[8][9]

Conn subsequently worked as senior advisor to the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation[2][10] where his projects included the preservation of wild salmon ecosystems[11] and the Palmyra Atoll research station.

He is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute.[12] Conn also sits or has sat on several company and non-profit boards or advisory committees, including Patagonia,[13] The Nature Conservancy European Council,[14] the Arcadia Foundation,[15] the Oxford Internet Institute,[16] Trout Unlimited, and the Atlantic Salmon Federation.[2] [17]

Rhodes Trust[edit]

Conn was warden and CEO of the Rhodes Trust from June 2013 to August 2018.[18][19] He was the first American to hold this position, and the first Warden of Rhodes House not to have served previously on the University of Oxford faculty.[20]

During his time as CEO of Rhodes House, Conn led a project to transform the Rhodes Trust into a 21st-century institution. This involved raising in excess of £250 million to secure the endowment for existing country scholarships and expand the scholarships globally. During his time as warden the annual number of scholars increased from 83 to 101, adding China, UAE, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Malaysia, East Africa, West Africa and new global Rhodes Scholarships.[21] During Conn’s tenure, the Trust started a convening program of current and alumni fellows. The Trust also pioneered several new partnerships, including with Atlantic Philanthropies to set up the Atlantic Institute and with the Eric & Wendy Schmidt Fund for Strategic Innovation to establish Schmidt Science Fellows.[16][22][23] Other partnerships included the Said Foundation, Templeton Foundation and Schwarzman Scholars program.[24] *

Since moving to Oxford, Conn has become a trustee of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation in Cape Town, South Africa, and an advisory board member of the Oxford Internet Institute.[17] In January 2014, he became a Professorial Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford University.[18]

Conn announced his retirement as warden of Rhodes House for the end of his five-year term, in August 2018.[19]

Oxford Sciences Innovation[edit]

In March 2019, Conn was appointed CEO of Oxford Sciences Innovation, the £600m investment company formed in partnership with the University of Oxford to develop the University’s deep science and technology ideas. He was joined by new Board Director Patrick Pichette, former CFO of Google. Both he and Pichette departed OSI towards the end of 2019.[25]


Bulletproof Problem Solving: The One Skill That Changes Everything, Wiley; 2019.

Thinking About Historical Legacies: Looking for Just Principles and Processes, The Institute for Historical Justice & Reconciliation; 2018.

Robbing the Grandchildren: Foundations’ shortsightedness is jeopardizing the planet’s future, Stanford Social Innovation Review; 2007.

Conservation Biology through the Lens of a Career in Salmon Conservation. Conservation Biology; 2011.

He was a co-author of 'Staircases to growth' in McKinsey Quarterly.[26]


  1. ^ Fast Leader Show. "Charles Conn: You can easily take apart almost any problem". Fast Leader (Podcast).
  2. ^ "Monograph Capital | Funding Groundbreaking Life Sciences Companies". Monograph. Retrieved 2022-07-01.
  3. ^ E. Anthony Abrahams (1940-2011). "The Rhodes Scholarships". Retrieved 2013-10-23.
  4. ^ Gruson, Linsey (Winter 1982). "Rhode Scholarship winners include first from city U". New York Times.
  5. ^ "Full text of "Collection of Membership Rosters on the CFR, Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg Group, and Rhodes Scholars"". Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  6. ^ Mintzberg, Henry; Ghoshal, Sumantra; Lampel, Joseph; Quinn, James Brian (2003). The Strategy Process: Concepts, Contexts, Cases. Pearson Education. ISBN 9780273651208.
  7. ^ "Charles Conn III: Executive Profile & Biography - Bloomberg of". Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  8. ^ News, Bloomberg (2000-05-11). "Ticketmaster Names Conn as Chairman". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2018-06-05. {{cite news}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  9. ^ Weston, Mike. "Caltech 1983". Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  10. ^ "Robbing the Grandchildren (SSIR)". Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  11. ^ "Conservation biology through the lens of a career in salmon conservation". Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  12. ^ "Henry Crown Fellowship - The Aspen Institute". The Aspen Institute. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  13. ^ Chouinard, Yvon; Stanley, Vincent (2013-10-06). The Responsible Company: What We've Learned from Patagonia's First 40 Years. Patagonia. ISBN 9781938340109.
  14. ^ "The Nature Conservancy in Europe". The Nature Conservancy. Retrieved 2022-07-01.
  15. ^ "Charles Conn - Arcadia". Arcadia. 2018-02-09. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  16. ^ Advisory Board Member. "Oxford Internet Institute - People - Mr Charles Conn". Archived from the original on 2014-03-29. Retrieved 2014-02-23.
  17. ^ "Atlantic Salmon Foundation, Annual Report, 2015" (PDF).
  18. ^ "Charles Conn starts as Warden and Andrew Graham becomes Rhodes Trustee - The Rhodes Scholarships". 2017-02-26. Archived from the original on 2017-02-26. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  19. ^ "Hong Kong students encouraged to apply for Rhodes Scholarships". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  20. ^ "Rhodes House - Home of The Rhodes Scholarships". Rhodes House - Home of The Rhodes Scholarships. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  21. ^ "Rhodes Scholarship Program to Expand". The New York Times. 2016-06-01. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  22. ^ Center, Foundation. "Schmidt Science Fellows Names Inaugural Cohort". Philanthropy News Digest (PND). Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  23. ^ "Former Google Chairman Eric Schmidt Announces New Science Fellows". Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  24. ^ Fellows, The Schmidt Science. "Eric And Wendy Schmidt Launch The Schmidt Science Fellows Program In Partnership With The Rhodes Trust". Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  25. ^ Boland, Hannah (2020-02-14). "Inside the bitter boardroom feud at Oxford's spin-out arm". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2020-06-04.
  26. ^ "Staircases to growth". McKinsey & Company. Retrieved 2018-06-05.

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