This story was updated May 17, 2018, at 7:35 p.m. with more information.
Charlie Brock, the CEO of the statewide Launch Tennessee program for the past five and a half years, will be leaving state government this fall to return to the private sector.
"My time as CEO of LaunchTN has been the most rewarding period in my professional career and it's been a wonderful ride, but I am looking forward to taking some time off, spending more time in Chattanooga and then figuring out what is next," Brock said Thursday.
Brock was hired to be the first CEO of the revamped state-funded venture capital and startup promotion agency, which Gov. Bill Haslam turned into LaunchTN in 2012. Brock joined the agency in January 2013 and during his tenure expanded the program to reach entrepreneurs in 75 percent of Tennessee counties and grew the volume of early-stage investment in Tennessee to more than twice its previous levels.
Brock said he will return to the private sector in October but is still unsure of his future plans.
A Chattanooga native, Brock has been a serial entrepreneur for nearly 20 years, including in his roles as co-founder and CEO at Foxmark Media, co-founder and general partner for the Chattanooga Renaissance Fund, managing partner at Four Bridges Capital, a founding director of CapitalMark Bank in Chattanooga and its successor Pinnacle Financial, and an early developer and executive director at The Company Lab in Chattanooga.
Brock's successor will be announced at a later date, following a search process with a committee led by Tom Ballard, emeritus board member of Launch Tennessee.
"Because of Charlie and the team at LaunchTN, Tennessee entrepreneurs have been able to take advantage of the startup-friendly environment that has been fostered in our state," said Bob Rolfe, commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. "More than 1,700 jobs have been created and $186 million has been raised by accelerated-assisted companies thanks to LaunchTN. Gov. [Bill] Haslam and I are enormously grateful to have had Charlie lead LaunchTN for the last five years, and we wish him well on his next venture."
Contact Dave Flessner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 757-6340.