David Kessler, one of the nation's leading public health advocates and a director of the California stem cell agency, has been fired as dean of the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
In an email today to colleagues, Kessler indicated that his dismissal was linked to his efforts to deal with "financial irregularities."
The note said,
"Shortly after arriving at UCSF as Dean, I discovered a series of financial irregularities that predated my appointment. I reported these issues to appropriate university officials at the time, and have endeavored to work with the university ever since to solve these problems. The university characterized me as a whistleblower. During the summer, Chancellor (J. Michael) Bishop requested my resignation. I continued to try to solve these problems. Yesterday, Chancellor Bishop terminated my appointment as Dean, effective immediately."Bishop released a note to personnel at UCSF later in the day, saying,
"I write to inform you that Professor David Kessler has left office as Dean of the UCSF School of Medicine and Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs. I thank him for his energetic service to the university and his substantial achievements on behalf of UCSF. Professor Sam Hawgood has graciously agreed to serve as Interim Dean, effective immediately. I ask that you give him your wholehearted support. An international search for a successor to Dean Kessler will be initiated promptly."Kessler holds his position on the CIRM Oversight Committee because he is an executive officer of a UC medical school. His termination means that he can no longer sit on the CIRM board.
Kessler served as FDA commissioner from 1990 to 1997. He was dean of the School of Medicine at Yale prior to joining UCSF in 2003.
A story written by this author on the Kessler firing also appeared on Wired.com earlier today.