Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Klein Addresses CIRM Board on His Succession Moves

Robert Klein, chairman of the California stem cell agency, today commented orally and briefly on his efforts to hand pick his successor at the $3 billion enterprise.

His remarks were a shorter and slightly altered version of the material he posted this morning on the agenda for today's CIRM directors meeting in Irvine.  Klein made one important addition to the posted material. He indicated that the board could not legally have a search committee that would make recommendations to the four state officials who make nominations. Prop. 71, the measure that created CIRM, stipulates that the board may choose from the nominees, although it could also reject them and request new ones.

Klein's surprise statement was the most forthcoming he has been on his unsuccessful effort to engineer the selection of Alan Bernstein as his successor. Bernstein is head of HIV Global Vaccine Enterprises of New York and chair of a panel that reviewed CIRM operations. News reports spoke of closed-door meetings and conflicts of interests involving Klein's attempt and rankled some CIRM board members.

Klein's comments this morning came just before the board's lunch break and a brief invitation from a UC Irvine stem cell researcher, Peter Donovan, to the board to tour the UCI stem cell facility, which CIRM helped finance. Klein did not entertain questions from CIRM directors.

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