Monday, July 28, 2008

CIRM Confirms Departure of General Counsel

The California stem cell agency today confirmed that Tamar Pachter is leaving her post (see item below) as general counsel of the $3 billion enterprise.

Her Aug. 15 departure pretty much finishes off the senior management team assembled by former President Zach Hall, who retired in the spring of 2007. The top senior executives now in place were brought in after Hall left and after Chairman Robert Klein recruited Alan Trounson as president.

Under Klein's leadership, CIRM has also been reorganized to shift more staff and responsibility to the chairman's office, undoing directors' changes in 2007 that stripped Klein's office of six positions.

Klein and Hall butted heads more than once, mostly in private, but in public put the best face on their relationship. Conflicts emerged partly because of the overlapping roles provided for president and chairman in Prop. 71. Under normal state and business practices those roles could be clarified by an organization's board of directors, but Prop. 71 locks them into state law, making them virtually impossible to change. The differences between the men, however, went beyond the CIRM structure, reflecting their divergent personalities, professional background and philosophies.

In response to a query from the California Stem Cell Report, Don Gibbons, chief communications officer for CIRM, confirmed Pachter's resignation. He said she would return to the state Department of Justice, where she served as a deputy attorney general. It was in that position that she argued and won the case that threatened to put CIRM out of business.

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