Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Torres, Sheehy Nominated for CIRM Chair and Vice Chair Respectively

State Controller John Chiang today nominated Art Torres, currently co-vice chair of the California stem cell agency, to a six-year term as the chairman of the $3 billion research effort. Chiang also nominated CIRM board member Jeff Sheehy for the vice chair position.

Torres, a former state legislator and head of the state Democratic party,  would replace Robert Klein, a real estate investment banker who is leaving this month at the end of his six-year term. In his nomination letter, Chiang said Torres has a unique skill set that has bridged "the gulf between the academic world, private sector and government."

Sheehy, a communications manager at UC San Francisco, has served on the 29-member board since its inception. He sits on the key grant review group, acting as the board's chief representative on that panel, which makes the de facto decisions on grant applications.

Chiang, a Democrat, said Sheehy has "distinguished himself with his leadership on increasing public accountability and transparency of CIRM's operations, both critical to retaining the public's faith in CIRM."

Chiang is also head of the Citizens Financial Accountability and Oversight Committee, a sister group to CIRM that was also created by Prop. 71. Chiang and that committee have been critical of CIRM's lack of transparency.

The CIRM board is expected to take up the election of a chairman at a meeting later this month. They hope to have nominations also from Republican Gov. Schwarzenegger, Republican Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado and Demoratic State Treasurer Bill Lockyer. See below for Chiang's letter.

Controller's Nomination Letter for CIRM Chair

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