Monday, May 02, 2005

Penhoet, Selling and Management

Now a millionaire venture capitalist and philanthropist, Ed Penhoet grew up in Oakland, the son of a piano teacher, Helene, and a hardware store owner, Etienne.

Some of the tidbits from a profile of the vice chairman of the stem cell agency in the San Francisco Chronicle. Reporter Alex Barnum wrote the piece that also tells us Penhoet learned some of his management skills that he used at Chiron from a year selling cars.

"If you have highly productive, highly trained people working for you, you can't order them around every day. ... You have to sell them on the concepts that you're trying to put forward,” Penhoet told Barnum.

The story also reported:

“Penhoet's restless ambition has led him down other paths as well. After a stint as dean of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, he is now president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the country's sixth largest philanthropic organization, where his job is making sure that $5 billion is put to work in solving some of society's toughest problems.”

Barnum wrote, “What's unusual, friends and colleagues say, is that someone of such ambition is also a genuinely nice guy, modest and open-minded. The same characteristics that served him in academia and business -- an ability to attract talented people, a skill at solving problems and defusing difficult situations -- will be valuable in his latest, most public role as vice chair of the stem cell board, they say.”
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