Monday, July 27, 2015

California's Salk Institute Looking for New CEO

San Diego is a hotbed of biomedical research, so when one of the leaders of its top institutions leaves, it is significant news.

William Brody, Salk photo
William Brody, head of the Salk Institute and a former director of the California stem cell agency, will be retiring at the end of the year, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported yesterday.

Brody, 71, came to Salk in 2009 and has wrapped up a $300 million fundraising effort that has stabilized the nonprofit after a period of financial uncertainty, Gary Robbins reported in the newspaper’s story.

Robbins wrote,
"'Salk has always had a much smaller endowment than other comparable institutions, but with decline in funding for biomedical research we needed a buffer and that is what Bill achieved,' said Terry Sejnowski, a Salk neuroscientist. 'None of his predecessors were able to do this. We don't have wealthy alumni or grateful patients, just the best basic science.'
"But if you compare where we are today with Scripps (Research) and medical schools around the country that are bleeding faculty and debt we are solvent if not plush, and continue to recruit the best young faculty. Looking to the future we need to find another Bill Brody."
Brody served on the governing board of the $3 billion state stem cell agency from August 2009 to the end of 2012. His predecessor at Salk, Richard Murphy, also served on the board and as interim president of the agency. Salk has not had a representative on the board since Brody left. 

Salk had received $52 million from the agency, which ranks the institute 12th on the list of recipients of awards. When Brody left the agency board in late 2011, Salk had chalked up $37 million in stem cell agency awards.

Salk officials said they will launch a nationwide search for a replacement. Scripps Research, also located nearby in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla, is also looking for a new CEO with top notch fundraising abilities. 

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