Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Litvack Picks Up Public Support for Bid to Become Chair of Stem Cell Agency

The Consumer Watchdog organization today endorsed a Los Angeles cardiologist as the new chairman of the $3 billion California stem cell agency, declaring that it is time to "correct the agency's dysfunctional management structure."

Writing in an op-ed piece in this morning's Sacramento Bee, John M. Simpson, stem cell project director of the Santa Monica organization, called for the election of Frank Litvack over bond financier Jonathan Thomas, chairman of Saybrook Capital, also of Santa Monica.

Simpson noted that the agency has been much criticized for its dual executive structure, which has led to public conflict and issues involving the outgoing chairman, Robert Klein, and president. Simpson said Litvack believes that the chairman should not be involved in day-to-day management at CIRM. Thomas is believed to envision a more hands-on role for the chairman.

Simpson wrote,
"As CIRM was in startup mode, Klein was very much a hands-on chairman, intimately involved in the agency's day-to-day management. The problem is that CIRM's president is supposed to be the chief executive.

"Klein's propensity to micromanage was understandable – perhaps even helpful – as CIRM got off the ground. But it continued during Klein's six-year tenure."
Simpson said,
"CIRM already has a world-renowned $500,000-a-year stem cell scientist – its President Alan Trounson. There's no need to spend another half-million on an investment banker so two executives can trip over each other at taxpayer expense.

"Litvack understands what the chairman's role should be and has realistic expectations about a salary. He should be elected so the agency can move successfully beyond the Klein era and perhaps to a time when it becomes simpler to get things done at CIRM."
Simpson's piece also contains a concise summary of the all the hooha since last fall surrounding selection of Klein's successor. Sphere: Related Content

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