Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Former iPierian Exec Joins California Stem Cell Agency as CFO

A former executive at a California stem cell firm has been named as the first chief financial officer of the seven-year-old, $3 billion California stem cell agency, it was announced today.

Matthew Plunkett, CIRM CFO
CIRM Photo
Matthew Plunkett, former vice president and chief financial officer of iPierian Inc., has been at work at CIRM since late last month. The agency said in a news release today that Plunkett is overseeing "budgeting, forecasting, financial compliance and reporting, and implementation of the industry loan award program."

Plunkett will also "play a key role in securing opportunities to leverage CIRM funds with additional outside capital," said CIRM Chairman Jonathan Thomas.

Plunkett worked for iPierian from 2009 until last April. While he was at the firm, it received $7 million in grants from CIRM. The South San Francisco business has a unique connection to CIRM. Major investors in iPierian, including John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers of Menlo Park, pumped nearly $6 million into the 2004 ballot campaign that created CIRM. That amounted to 25 percent of the total contributed to the campaign, which was headed by Robert Klein, who later became the first chairman of the stem cell agency.

CIRM has said no connection exists between the contributions and subsequent awards to iPierian.

The agency has needed a chief financial officer for some time. It has sometimes struggled with routine budget matters, although that problem seems to have been largely solved even before Plunkett was hired. Plunkett will report to both the agency's chairman, Jonathan Thomas, and CIRM President Alan Trounson, in a continuation of the troublesome dual executive arrangement at the stem cell agency.

Prior to joining iPierian, Plunkett worked for Oppenheimer/CIBC World Markets from 2000 to 2009. In his last position there, he was managing director/head of West Coast biotechnology. He holds Ph.D. in organic chemistry from UC Berkeley.

Plunkett, who is earning $260,004 annually, began work on Nov. 28. Today's press release on his hiring came after the California Stem Cell Report inquired on Saturday about progress in filling the position.

Here is a link to a brief article in the San Francisco Business Times about the Plunkett announcement.
(An earlier version of this item incorrectly said Plunkett started work on Nov. 11 based on his resume which said "11/11.") Sphere: Related Content

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