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August 29, 2021 | Tom Ballard

LaunchTN appoints Search Committee to find next CEO

Late Friday afternoon, the Launch Tennessee Board of Directors announced a 12-member search committee to lead its efforts to identify the organization’s next Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

As previously reported, the Committee will be led by Bruce Doeg, the organization’s Vice Chair and a shareholder at Baker Donelson. Its task is to find a successor to Van Tucker whose resignation was announced August 6 (see article here). The Committee will hold its first organizational meeting this week with details of the search process to be announced soon after, according to Friday’s news release.

“I am excited about the diversity of perspectives and depth of experience this Committee brings,” said Doeg. “We’re looking for the right person to lead LaunchTN and help us continue our quest to make Tennessee the most start-up friendly state in the nation.”

The announcement kicks off what is planned to be a three-to-four-month process. In the meantime, Abby Trotter, Partner at Hall Strategies and Executive Director of BioTN and Life Science Tennessee, will serve as the Interim CEO.

In its Friday release, LaunchTN noted that the Committee represents stakeholders from across Tennessee’s innovation ecosystem, including LaunchTN partner accelerator organizations, Tennessee-based investors, entrepreneurs, and leaders of academic institutions. Members other than Doeg are, in alphabetical order:

  • Jane Allen, CEO of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center;
  • Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer at PYA and member of the LaunchTN Board;
  • Lindsey Cox, CEO of Chattanooga’s CO.LAB and a former LaunchTN staffer;
  • Ben Ferguson, CEO of theCO in Jackson;
  • Shawn Glinter, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pendant BioSciences and a member of the LaunchTN Board;
  • Kayla Graff, Co-Founder and CEO of SweetBio in Memphis;
  • Stacey Patterson, Vice President for Research, Outreach and Economic Development at the University of Tennessee and another member of the LaunchTN Board;
  • Julia Polk, Chief Strategy Officer with Nashville’s Decode Health and a member of LaunchTN’s Executive Committee;
  • Jessica Taveau, CEO of Epicenter in Memphis;
  • Marcus Whitney, Founder and Managing Partner at Nashville-based Jumpstart Nova and another Member of the LaunchTN Board; and
  • Ken Woody, President of Innova Memphis.

“Our staff and our stakeholders are eager to turn the page and begin a new chapter at LaunchTN,” said Trotter. “We are excited about this process and the naming of the Committee, and we thank the Board and all the search committee members for their commitment and strong support.”

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