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Sailesh Chutani Joins Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Paula M. Trienens Institute for Sustainability and Energy

Entrepreneur and tech leader will teach courses and participate in programming

Sailesh Chutani, entrepreneur and former chief technology officer (CTO) at Logitech, will join Northwestern Engineering’s Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation as a visiting fellow and the Paula M. Trienens Institute for Sustainability and Energy as an adjunct professor beginning January 1.  

During this yearlong appointment, Chutani will teach the Corporate Innovation course for the Farley Center and will be a guest speaker in other courses. He will also teach Ethics & Leadership in the Climate Crisis for the Trienens Institute, hold office hours, and participate in events.  

As a fellow, Chutani brings decades of experience as a leader and innovator. He cofounded and served as CEO of Mobisante Inc, which developed point-of-care ultrasound systems. He served as CTO and chief innovation catalyst at Logitech, and was an executive-in-residence at Amazon, where he developed opportunities in robotics and sustainability. Prior to that, he held research and leadership roles at Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, and Microsoft. He has a PhD in computer science from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). 

“We are delighted to have someone with Sailesh’s deep and broad expertise joining our center,” said Hayes Ferguson, director of the Farley Center. “His experience as an entrepreneur and as a leader in corporate innovation prepare him well for the Corporate Innovation class. He also will be an asset to students seeking mentorship and to faculty who desire a guest speaker with his background.” 

At the Trienens Institute, Chutani will serve as an adjunct professor of energy and sustainability.  

Sailesh is an innovative thinker who brings a unique perspective on sustainability to Northwestern,” said Holly Benz, director of the Master of Science in Energy and Sustainability Program (MSES) within the Trienens Institute. “His focus on ethics, climate, and consumption are informed by his deep business and technology background with firms like Logitech and Amazon. Sailesh is passionate about having a big picture dialogue with Northwestern. 

With a focus on sustainability and decarbonization, Chutani currently serves as a board member, adviser, and investor to several companies. He is also writing a book that frames the climate crisis as a crisis of ethics. In his new role, he is looking forward to engaging with both faculty and smart, driven students about the challenges and innovations needed to solve climate change. 

“Most of my career has been trying to anticipate the future, then building products and businesses that can leverage those big shifts,” Chutani said. “The innovation process is going to be even more important as we grapple with the climate crisis. I hope the experience I have can be useful to students as they think about innovation and what role that plays in our future."  

"I want to help give students a toolbox that will allow them to make ethical choices as they pursue their careers," Chutani said, "and I fully expect they will challenge and stimulate me in ways I cannot yet anticipate.”