Sunday, September 02, 2007

Klein Speaks Out on Presidential Search

California stem cell chairman Robert Klein today defended the conduct of the search for a permanent president of his agency, declaring that there is "great interest" in the opportunity to head the $3 billion enterprise.

In an op-ed piece in The Sacramento Bee, Klein responded to a Bee editorial Aug. 12 that summarized issues complicating CIRM's presidential search, which we have written about on this blog and for The institute has operated in a lame-duck management status since early last December. Some CIRM Oversight Committee members worried as early as last January about the negative impact of a lengthy search.

Klein wrote:
"The CIRM governing board is committed to recruiting a new president who can provide the global strategic leadership this position requires. Academic searches for comparable positions traditionally take 12 to 18 months. Our recruitment effort has a more aggressive schedule; but as I stated in an interview with The Scientist, recruiting a great scientist with a proven record in directing and managing major ongoing research involves finding medical scientists who can take over existing grants, assume the responsibility of mentoring graduate students and post-doctorate students in the labs, and assume the institutional management responsibilities for leading the stem cell efforts of a major university or research facility."
That statement seems to indicate that the board is currently committed to finding an active scientist with a major research portfolio that he or she would have to give up to become president of CIRM. It also seems to mean that the board is not actively pursuing candidates who would be top notch administrators but have a lesser scientific pedigree.

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