UW-Madison: Carl Gulbrandsen to retire from WARF in 2016

CONTACT: Ann Muehl, 608-890-1491, [email protected]

NOTE: Photos can be downloaded at https://uwmadison.box.com/Gulbrandsen


MADISON – Carl Gulbrandsen, who joined the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) in 1997 and became managing director in 2000, will retire in 2016.

WARF helps steward the cycle of research, discovery, commercialization and investment for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Founded in 1925, WARF serves as the private, nonprofit patenting and licensing organization for the university.

“Carl Gulbrandsen is a top chief executive. His accomplishments over the last 18 years have been transformational for WARF,” says Peter P. Tong, chairman of the WARF Board of Trustees. “There is much testament to Carl’s great leadership, but what really stands out is how he has built a first-class organization. He has put a superb team in place that helped make WARF one of the top technology transfer organizations and a leading innovator in investment management.

“It will be a high hurdle to find a leader like Carl, but we are confident we can build on his legacy in attracting exceptional candidates.”

Under Gulbrandsen’s leadership, the WARF endowment has grown significantly. Last year, WARF’s unrestricted gift to the university and the Morgridge Institute for Research, to help meet current needs for improving staffing, faculty, grants, student fellowships, equipment, facilities and partnerships for research along with additional in-kind support, was approximately $100 million.

Gulbrandsen’s watch saw the realization of the Discovery Building, the Morgridge Institute for Research and the Town Center. He helped establish WiCell, a global leader in the banking, testing and distribution of stem cell lines, and WiSys, a WARF-like foundation organized to benefit the other campuses of the University of Wisconsin System with the exception of UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee.

WARF is also a key partner in the technology-focused 4490 Ventures fund and the Discovery to Product (D2P) campuswide initiative for entrepreneurship. Recent WARF entrepreneurship initiatives also include UpStart, a program for minority and women’s entrepreneurship, and Entrepreneurons, which provides the basics for high technology startups. Since its inception, WARF has been involved in creating more than 200 startups.

“Joining WARF and serving the university is the best professional decision I ever made,” Gulbrandsen says. “It is remarkable and humbling to work with very creative, intelligent people to move technologies to the marketplace and to improve lives. Helping WARF become a more transparent and integrated organization with departments and programs aligned with a unifying purpose has been very rewarding. To ensure our investments in research are making a difference is what WARF is all about. I look forward to my successor helping to make our impact even more positive.”

The board of trustees has formed a search committee and selected Russell Reynolds Associates, a global leader in assessment, recruitment and succession planning for chief executive officers, boards of directors and key roles within the C-suite, to help with the search for Gulbrandsen’s successor. The selection process will lead to a new managing director to be in place this year. Gulbrandsen will retire in early 2016 and assist WARF during the transition.

All inquiries should be directed to Russell Reynolds Associates, attention: Meredith Rosenberg, [email protected]