Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Names Susan Desmond-Hellman New CEO

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Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has selected Susan Desmond-­Hellmann, MD, MPH, as its next Chief Executive Officer. Currently the Chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Dr. Desmond-Hellmann will assume her role on May 1, 2014.

“We chose Sue because of her scientific knowledge and deep technical expertise on the foundation’s issues, as well as the organizational and leadership skills required to lead a large, growing and dynamic global organization. Sue shares our commitment and passion to create a more equitable world,” said Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Foundation.

“I am honored by the opportunity that Bill and Melinda have extended to me. I’m excited to join such a dynamic and ambitious organization, with such a clear and focused mission—improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable,” said Dr. Desmond-Hellmann.

“Sue’s background in public health policy, research and development, and higher education, make her an exceptional fit for this role. She impressed us as an innovator and an outstanding leader and manager,” said Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Foundation.

Dr. Desmond-Hellmann is an oncologist and recognized leader on issues of higher education, public health, drug development, regulatory innovation and health policy. She has led UCSF since August 2009, when she became the first woman to serve as the university’s chancellor, overseeing all aspects of the university and medical center’s strategy, academic programs and operations. Prior to her tenure at UCSF, she was President of Product Development at Genentech, where she led the development and introduction of two of the first gene-targeted therapies for cancer, bevacizumab (Avastin) and trastuzumab (Herceptin).

Dr. Desmond-Hellmann will take over from Jeff Raikes, who announced his retirement from the Foundation in September 2013 after 5 years at the helm.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the Foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-Chair William H. Gates Sr, under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. ■