RISD President John Maeda Departing To Become First Design Partner At Kleiner Perkins

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John Maeda is leaving his role as president of the Rhode Island School of Design to become a design partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Maeda made the announcement in a YouTube video (embedded at the end of this post), and it was confirmed in a news release from Kleiner.

In his video, Maeda (who has been RISD president since 2008, and who previously served as associate director of research at the MIT Media Lab) said that he’ll be taking on the new role in January, and that he plans “to continue my life work at the intersection of design, technology and business.”

It sounds like Maeda won’t be investing directly in startups. Instead, the firm says he’ll be working with portfolio companies “to help them build design DNA into their company cultures”, leading Kleiner’s Design Council, and also supporting the Design Fellows program that the firm launched a year ago.

“John is a genius, a pioneer at the intersection of design, computing, art and education,” said Kleiner partner John Doerr in the release. “Today John is again breaking new ground as KPCB’s first Design Partner.”

The firm also says that Maeda will be serving as chairman of eBay’s Design Advisory Board, and that he also serves on the boards of speaker company Sonos, ad agency Wieden+Kennedy, and Kleiner-backed startup Quirky.

image via Wikipedia