Leon Sandler provides strategic advice to the Center and its grantees.
Leon was the Executive Director of the Deshpande Center from 2006 to February 2024: guiding its strategic direction, ensuring the successful execution of its mission, and raising the funds to sustain the Center. He managed relationships with faculty and grantee teams, mentors, investors, industry and supporters. During his tenure, the Center funded roughly 180 projects with 44 spinout companies formed. Under his leadership, the Center raised over $20 million in funding and awarded a similar amount in grants to faculty.
A passion for innovation and education
Leon Sandler reflects on 18 years of helping MIT faculty research move from lab to market
Before joining the Deshpande Center, Leon was CEO of several startups and provided management and business assistance to many others. He held senior management positions at companies such as Eastman Kodak, Texas Instruments and Digital Equipment. Previously, he was a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group and a chemical engineer at AE&CI.
Leon holds a BS and MS in chemical engineering from Natal University in South Africa, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.