Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Interim CIRM President in The Works?

The California stem cell agency is moving towards hiring an interim president to head the $3 billion institute while it completes its search for a new chief executive.

California stem cell Chairman Robert Klein last week told the California Stem Cell Report that he hoped to advance the search in a "material way" at Wednesday's Oversight Committee. It appears that comment is linked to a cryptic, recently posted addition to the agenda for consideration of a "personal services" contract.

Stem cell scuttlebutt has it that a six-month contract would be offered to the interim president. Some possibilities could include two Oversight Committee members who left the board recently because they no longer held the positions that qualified them for seats on the committee. They are the former president of Caltech and Nobel Prize winner, David Baltimore, and the former head of the Salk Institute, Richard Murphy. Other possibilities include Ed Penhoet, vice chair of the Oversight Committee, and Paul Berg, a Stanford Nobel Prize winner who has filled in as an alternate on the panel.

Former President Zach Hall announced his retirement last December and departed at the end of April. His responsibilities were picked up on an interim basis for the past three months by two current executives at the agency, who already had full plates.

As early as last January, some members of CIRM's Oversight Committee were worried about drift at the institute during the transition to a new president, especially if there were a significant hiatus while a new president was found. Sphere: Related Content

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