University of California President Michael V. Drake, M.D., announces appointment of new UC Berkeley chancellor

University of California President Michael V. Drake, M.D., announced today (Wednesday, April 10, 2024) the selection of Richard K. Lyons, former dean of the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and current associate vice chancellor and chief innovation and entrepreneurship officer, to become UC Berkeley’s next chancellor. Lyons will assume his new role on July 1, 2024, when current Chancellor Carol Christ steps down.

White male with white hair and a white beard smiles at camera on Berkeley campus
Richard K. Lyons. Courtesy photo.

The UC Board of Regents approved the appointment today during a special meeting held at UCLA. The appointment follows an extensive national search that engaged a variety of campus stakeholders, including representatives of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and Regents.

“As the world’s preeminent public research university, UC Berkeley needs and deserves a bold and visionary leader with a deep commitment to higher education and to preserving Berkeley’s academic and research prowess. We are thrilled to name Richard Lyons as the campus’s next chancellor,” said President Drake. “Rich is a UC Berkeley alumnus and a respected academic leader who brings deep campus and community relationships and a proven track-record of garnering support for impactful programs and initiatives.”

“I am humbled and thrilled to become UC Berkeley’s next chancellor, following the remarkable leadership of Chancellor Christ. Berkeley is one-of-a-kind, and I will endeavor to honor its traditions and history while guiding the campus into its next chapter and growing its impact,” said Lyons. “Together with the campus community, we will build on Berkeley’s distinctive values and excellence to ensure that it continues to be the campus of choice for the very best students, staff, and faculty alike.”

Lyons has served in his current role at UC Berkeley’s Office of the Vice Chancellor of Research (VCRO) since 2020, where he oversees the development of a campus-wide ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship, including patenting and technology licensing. In 2023, he was also appointed by President Drake to chair the new President’s Council for Entrepreneurship. Lyons has demonstrated a commitment to keeping the whole university strong and understands the fundamental importance of the arts and humanities.

Lyons is a professor of Economics and Finance at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, where he served as dean from 2008 to 2018. As dean, Lyons led a sweeping culture initiative that improved admissions and other critical processes. He also oversaw the development of Connie & Kevin Chou Hall, a new academic building funded entirely by alumni and friends, and secured eight of the 10 largest gifts in the school’s history.

Lyons’ research and teaching are mostly focused on international finance, though his more recent work explores how leaders can drive innovation and the importance of culture, equity, and belonging in shaping organizations. He is the author of numerous academic and other publications as well as the book, “The Microstructure Approach to Exchange Rates.”

“Rich is a fantastic choice to lead UC Berkeley for this next chapter. He combines a stellar scholarly record with significant administrative leadership experience at Berkeley and beyond,” said Maximilian Auffhammer, UC Berkeley professor of International Sustainable Development and chair of the UC Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate, who was one of five faculty representatives on the Chancellor Search Advisory Committee. “As an alumnus, faculty member, and former dean, Rich knows and loves this campus in the same way we all do. I look forward to working together with him to further build out Berkeley’s academic excellence, global reputation, and access.”

In his years as a UC Berkeley leader, Lyons forged stronger ties with other campus colleges and departments, with a focus on establishing dual degree programs combining business with STEM fields, including the new Management, Entrepreneurship, and Technology program with Berkeley Engineering. He has also served as co-chair of the Strategic Plan Steering Committee for UC Berkeley from 2017-18 and on the Divisional Council of the Berkeley Academic Senate from 2001-2002. In 2018, Lyons was awarded the Berkeley Citation, given to individuals whose contributions to UC Berkeley go beyond the call of duty and whose achievements exceed the standards of excellence in their fields. Lyons also received the Distinguished Teaching Award, UC Berkeley’s highest teaching honor, in 1998.

“I’m delighted with this choice. I’ve observed Rich lead different parts of UC Berkeley over the years, and I share in the excitement that he is known to create,” said Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín. “Whether it’s sharpening the wonderful values that make Berkeley so distinctive or opening new pathways for students to see futures in themselves that they could not see, it adds up to great promise for the university and for campus-city relations. To top it off, like me, Rich is an undergraduate alum, the first to serve as our chancellor.”

Lyons graduated from UC Berkeley in 1982 with a B.S. degree in business and from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1987 with a Ph.D in economics. He and his wife, Jen, also a UC Berkeley alumna, have two children and live in Berkeley. In his spare time, Lyons enjoys playing the guitar and volunteers for the Berkeley Free Clinic.

The UC Board of Regents approved Lyons’ annual salary of $946,450, which is equivalent to current Chancellor Christ’s salary plus $220,000 in additional, private funds. UC chancellors are among the lowest paid university leaders when compared with their Association of American Universities (AAU) peers.

“I am delighted about Rich Lyons’ appointment as the 12th chancellor of UC Berkeley. Rich has a lifelong commitment to academics, research, and innovation. He has been an excellent teacher, mentor, and leader, and he has a strong record of civic engagement and giving back to the community,” said Richard Leib, Chair of the UC Board of Regents. “UC Berkeley is one of the world's finest educational institutions. When we learned that Chancellor Christ would be stepping down after seven years of exceptional service, we knew we would need to find the right leader to guide this incredible institution in these challenging times. I am confident we found the right person in Rich Lyons."

Lyons succeeds Chancellor Christ, who has led the UC Berkeley campus since 2017 and announced last June that she will step down from the role.

“I am both thrilled and reassured by this excellent choice. In so many ways, Rich embodies Berkeley’s very best attributes, and his dedication to the university’s public mission and values could not be stronger,” said Chancellor Christ. “I am confident he will bring to the office visionary aspirations for Berkeley’s future that are informed by, and deeply respectful of, our past.”

“I am tremendously grateful for Carol’s dedicated service to the University of California and her exemplary leadership of UC Berkeley through some of its greatest triumphs and challenges,” said President Drake. “Her contributions lay a solid foundation for her successor, and she leaves an indelible mark on this storied institution.”

Download Lyons’ CV here.

Download a full-size photo of Lyons here.

Download a headshot of Lyons here.