- The Indian American most recently served as deputy mayor for the city of Chicago, where he focused on economic and neighborhood development.
Samir Mayekar, a former deputy mayor for economic development in Chicago, has been appointed managing director of the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, effective Nov. 6. In his new role, the Indian American “will play a pivotal role in advancing UChicago’s ambitious priorities in innovation, technology commercialization, and entrepreneurship,” the center announced last week.
The Polsky Center provides venture support for students interested in entrepreneurship and robust training for students interested in pursuing a career in venture capital and private equity. It was originally established at Chicago Booth in 1998.
According to a press release issued by the center, “Mayekar’s work in both high-tech innovation and urban economic development is well-matched to its goals and mission, including the advancement of a wide range of technologies — from clean energy and life sciences to quantum, information sciences, and data science.”
He most recently served as deputy mayor for the city of Chicago, where he focused on economic and neighborhood development. The center described him as “a driving force behind initiatives such as the city’s INVEST South/West initiative.”
In a statement, Mayekar said he is “excited” to bring his civic, corporate, and entrepreneurial experience “to enhance the Polsky Center’s role as a platform to both support local economic development on the South Side and advance the commercialization of globally needed technologies to solve critical issues .”
Before working for the city of Chicago, Mayekar served in the Obama administration, where he was part of the White House’s national security team and the executive staff at the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation.
In the private sector, he co-founded and served as CEO of NanoGraf Corporation, a global manufacturer of advanced materials for the lithium-ion battery industry that has raised over $100 million in funding and was spun out of Argonne National Laboratory and Northwestern University. He has also worked in investment banking at Credit Suisse and management consulting at Marakon Associates. He is involved in the Chicago nonprofit community, where he serves as president of the Northwestern Alumni Association, a trustee of Northwestern, and the chair of the Albany Park Theater Project.
He holds a BA from Northwestern University (summa cum laude) and an MBA with distinction from the Kellogg School of Management. He is a recipient of the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans and the Marshall Memorial Fellowship.
(Top photo, courtesy Samir Mayekar Polsky Center.)