Wednesday, December 10, 2008

California Governor Nominates Roth as CIRM Vice Chair

IRVINE, Ca. -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has nominated a San Diego biotech veteran as vice chairman of the $3 billion California stem cell agency, setting the stage for a contested election between him and the chairman of the state Democratic Party.

Terri Somers of the San Diego Union-Tribune late Tuesday reported the nomination of Duane Roth(see photo), who now sits on the board of directors of the agency. He says he would not accept a salary, which could run as high as $332,000 annually. Art Torres is the other candidate and has said he needs a salary, but we have been told he thinks a figure of $332,000 would be excessive.

Roth is the head of Connect, a group that assists start-up tech companies. Torres is a veteran politico and former state lawmaker.

Somers quoted Schwarzenegger as saying in a letter to the CIRM board:
"'As I'm sure you already know, Duane is a hard-working board member who has long been an advocate for stem cell research and active member of the life sciences community. He is thoroughly familiar with (the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine) and his elevation to the vice-chair position would promise a seamless transition."
Somers wrote:
"The governor first nominated board member Claire Pomeroy, vice chancellor for human health sciences at UC Davis and dean of its medical school, for the vice chairman post. But Pomeroy asked that her nomination be withdrawn, citing time constraints and a desire to avoid potential conflicts of interest because UC Davis programs are eligible for institute funding."
The vice chairmanship is currently vacant after Ed Penhoet, a multimillionaire businessman, resigned to take a non-paying position on the CIRM board. Penhoet has never taken a salary for his CIRM work. Nor has CIRM Chairman Robert Klein, also a multimillionaire businessman.

However, CIRM directors are scheduled today to act on a salary request by Klein, who says he can no longer afford to work for free. It could place Klein in an awkward position to accept a salary while the vice chairman goes unpaid.

The CIRM board is not expected to make a decision on the vice chairmanship today. Sphere: Related Content

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