Back to News & Media
Monday, July 21, 2014

Ken Gabriel, former DARPA, Google Executive, to Lead Draper Laboratory

CAMBRIDGE, MA-- The Board of Directors of the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc announced today that Dr. Kaigham (Ken) J. Gabriel, a Google executive and former senior DARPA official, has been selected as its next President and Chief Executive Officer.

Gabriel will assume his position on October 9 when James D. Shields, Draper’s current President and CEO, will retire after eight years of leadership that has strengthened the Laboratory’s reputation for delivering outstanding results for existing sponsors and positioned the organization for expansion into important new areas of national importance.

“Ken Gabriel is a distinguished technology executive with a record of accomplishment in both government and the private sector,” said Franklin Miller, Chairman of the Draper Board of Directors. “His selection ensures that Draper will have the decisive leadership, informed by technical knowledge, that is required to continue the Laboratory’s 80-year record of success.”

Gabriel is currently deputy director of the Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group at Google, which he helped establish when he joined the organization in 2012 as Corporate Vice President at Google/Motorola Mobility. From 2009 to 2012, Gabriel was the Deputy Director, and then Acting Director, of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the Department of Defense where he led an agency with an annual budget of $3 billion that is charged with managing the Department’s portfolio of its most cutting edge projects to both create and avoid technology surprise. 

“Ken knows the Laboratory well through working with the Draper team at key points in his career,” said Shields. “I can’t imagine a better qualified person to build on the foundation we have established and to lead the Laboratory going forward.”

Between 2002 and 2009, Gabriel, widely regarded as the architect of the Microelectro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) industry, was the Co-Founder, Chairman and Chief Technology Officer of Akustica, a fabless semiconductor company that commercialized MEMS audio devices and sensors. Akustica, based in the United States with a global supply chain and customer base, pioneered the use of digital silicon microphones and shipped more than six million units to the consumer electronics industry prior to being acquired in 2009.

Gabriel has been a tenured professor in both the Robotics Institute and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He also served as a program manager and office director at DARPA, where he conceived and led projects that took MEMS out of the laboratory into practical applications. Earlier in his career he was a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo, a research scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory and a research principal investigator at AT&T Bell Laboratories. Gabriel’s honors include being named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum at Davos and named to the Senior Executive Service, and awarded the Carlton Tucker Prize for Excellence in Teaching from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Gabriel holds SM and ScD degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the MIT.

Of his selection, Gabriel said, “Draper is one of the nation’s premier innovation organizations with accomplishments ranging from taking us to the moon with the Apollo mission guidance systems and the delivery of today’s critical defense and space navigation & control solutions to emerging opportunities in biotechnology, health and energy. I look forward to working with the dedicated and talented people of Draper and feel privileged and excited to lead this great organization.”

Media Contact

Media Relations

Contact Info: 
Strategic Communication

Media Relations