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UC Taps New UCRI CEO, Chief Innovation Officer

David J. Adams, a lifelong entrepreneur with experience in the for- and nonprofit sectors, will become UCRI's new CEO with a dual title of UC Chief Innovation Officer.

Date: 6/6/2017 2:00:00 PM
By: Marianne Kunnen-Jones
Phone: (513) 556-2019
Other Contact: MB Reilly
Other Contact Phone: (513) 556-1824
David J. Adams, a lifelong entrepreneur with experience in a wide range of for-profit and non-profit sectors, will become the chief executive officer of the University of Cincinnati Research Institute (UCRI), effective July 17, President Neville Pinto announced today. Adams also will assume the newly created position of Chief Innovation Officer at UC—a role that seeks to fully assemble and accelerate the university’s enterprise-wide innovation agenda. 
Photo of David J. Adams
David J. Adams

As UCRI’s new CEO, Adams will lead the university’s interface with industry.  His primary aim will be to develop a one-stop model for business engagement grounded in client relations, value creation and operational excellence.  As Chief Innovation Officer, Adams will report to President Pinto and lead all aspects of the newly formed 1819 Innovation Hub.  Backed by a more than $38 million investment approved by the UC Board of Trustees, this state-of-the-art facility will serve as a magnet for breakthrough ideas, innovative solutions and strategic partnerships.
“Given the seminal role that innovation and entrepreneurism play in transforming nearly every aspect of society, it is essential that UC’s investments and capabilities keep pace.  In creating this new role of Chief Innovation Officer, UC will now have a cabinet-level leader dedicated solely to driving our innovation agenda,” said President Pinto.  
“This is a tremendous opportunity and I look forward to working with the university and our community partners to advance the innovation and entrepreneurism discussion,” remarked Adams.  “Innovation has never been more critical to an organization—from early stage and Fortune 500 businesses to non-profits.  With its many resources as a major research university, UC is uniquely positioned to enable innovation with these organizations and the value creation can be significant for all involved.”
Adams currently serves as Interim Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) at the University of Louisville as well as CEO of its Institute for Product Realization (IPR). He was recently recruited into the Interim CAO role to oversee the $1.2 billion financial and operational aspects of the university.  As IPR’s CEO, he leads the university’s interface with industry. 
Prior to his roles at UofL, Adams founded The BVI Group to serve the strategic and operational needs of businesses and private equity firms.  He led the operational improvement and merger of Indiana’s $30 billion pension systems at the request of then-Governor Mitch Daniels. Earlier in his career, Adams was a founding member of the executive team that grew i2 Technologies from $4 million to $1.1 billion in seven years, becoming a NASDAQ 50 company in the process.  During his tenure at i2 Technologies, he held senior management positions in North and South America as well as leading operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Over the course of more than 30 years, Adams has held senior leadership roles in multiple sectors—from manufacturing, distribution and transportation to technology, health care, education and state government.  He has assisted numerous Fortune 500 companies, including: Caterpillar, Cooper Tire and Rubber, Eaton, Timken, U.S. Steel, Philips Consumer Electronics, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Sherwin-Williams, Steelcase and Thomson Consumer Electronics.
“David Adams is a highly accomplished entrepreneur and business executive who truly understands and embraces the mission and values of a public research university and its diverse constituents.  We are very excited to have a senior executive of his caliber join us,” noted Ron Brown, chair of the search committee.
Adams has served on several governing boards, including the Purdue Research Foundation and formerly the St. Vincent Hospital Foundation
Named one of Indiana’s “Leading Entrepreneurial Business Mentors” by the State of Indiana, Adams is a graduate of the University of Louisville with two degrees in Industrial Engineering.  He received the “Outstanding Young Engineer of the Year” and the “Professional Award in Engineering” awards from the Speed School of Engineering.  
Tony Shipley, the founder and chairman of Queen City Angels, serves on the UCRI Board of Directors and added, “David will play a key leadership role in helping us to further enhance and expand the region’s innovation ecosystem.  I know the innovation and entrepreneur communities are very excited to partner with him.”
“On behalf of the university, I want to thank the UCRI Board of Directors for actively recruiting David to Cincinnati.  I also want to recognize the extraordinary leadership and service of Pat Limbach, who has served as Interim CEO of UCRI,” President Pinto said.