Charles R. Conn
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Charles R. Conn
|CEO of Oxford Sciences Innovation, Oxford|
|Assumed office |
|Preceded by||David Norwood|
|Warden of Rhodes House, Oxford|
|Preceded by||Andrew Graham|
|Succeeded by||Elizabeth Kiss|
|Senior Advisor to the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation|
|CEO & Chairman, Ticketmaster Online-Citysearch|
|Co-Founder & CEO, Citysearch|
|Born||22 August 1961|
|Alma mater||Boston University, Balliol College, Oxford and Harvard Business School|
Charles R. Conn (born 22 August 1961) is the CEO of Oxford Sciences Innovation, a £600 million investment company supporting deep science and technology from the University of Oxford. He is the former warden and global CEO of Rhodes House and the Rhodes Trust, and was responsible for administering the Rhodes Scholarship from 2013 to 2018.
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.Conn subsequently worked at the Boston Consulting Group and gained an MBA at Harvard Business School.
Conn was a partner at McKinsey & Company, where he focused on growth strategies and energy.He co-founded Citysearch in 1995, and in 1997 the California Software Industry Council named him Entrepreneur of the Year. Conn oversaw the merger with Ticketmaster, acquisition of Match.com and the company’s public share offering. He became chairman of Ticketmaster Online-Citysearch in 2001.
Conn subsequently worked as senior advisor to the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation where his projects included the preservation of wild salmon ecosystems and the Palmyra Atoll research station.
He is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. Conn also sits or has sat on several company and non-profit boards or advisory committees, including Patagonia, the Arcadia Foundation, the Oxford Internet Institute,  Trout Unlimited, and the Atlantic Salmon Foundation. He acts as an adviser and investor in start-up technology companies that focus on clean energy solutions and related areas.
Conn was warden and CEO of the Rhodes Trust from June 2013 to August 2018. 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.
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 funds 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. 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. Other partnerships included the Said Foundation, Templeton Foundation and Schwarzman Scholars program. *
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. In January 2014, he became a Professorial Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford University.
Conn announced his retirement as warden of Rhodes House for the end of his five-year term, in August 2018.
Oxford Sciences Innovation
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.
Conn was married to Beverley Robertson, they have three children together.
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.
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