Alumna named CEO of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

UCSF chancellor and UNSOM graduate Susan Desmond-Hellmann takes over role in May

Alumna named CEO of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

UCSF chancellor and UNSOM graduate Susan Desmond-Hellmann takes over role in May

University of Nevada, Reno alumna Susan Desmond-Hellmann has been named chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Desmond-Hellmann, a native of Reno, received a bachelor's of science premedical degree at the University and is a 1982 graduate of the University of Nevada School of Medicine. She completed her clinical training at the University of California, San Francisco and holds a master's degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Desmond-Hellmann received the School of Medicine's Outstanding Alumnus Award in 2009. 

The announcement by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation follows:

SEATTLE (December 17, 2013) -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has selected Susan Desmond-Hellmann, M.D., M.P.H., as its next chief executive officer. Currently the chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Desmond-Hellmann will assume her role on May 1, 2014. 

"We chose Sue because of her scientific knowledge and deep technical expertise on the foundation's issues, as well as the organizational and leadership skills required to lead a large, growing and dynamic global organization. Sue shares our commitment and passion to create a more equitable world," said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the foundation. 

"I am honored by the opportunity that Bill and Melinda have extended to me. I'm excited to join such a dynamic and ambitious organization, with such a clear and focused mission-improving the lives of the world's most vulnerable," said Desmond-Hellmann. 

"Sue's background in public health policy, research and development, and higher education, make her an exceptional fit for this role. She impressed us as an innovator and an outstanding leader and manager," said Bill Gates, co-chair of the foundation. 

An oncologist by training, Desmond-Hellmann is a recognized leader on issues of higher education, public health, drug development, regulatory innovation and health policy. She has led UCSF since August 2009, when she became the first woman to serve as the university's chancellor, overseeing all aspects of the university and medical center's strategy, academic programs and operations. She has extensive experience in product development, and a deep understanding of how to bridge applied research to delivery of product. Prior to her tenure at UCSF, she was President of Product Development at Genentech, where she led the development and introduction of two of the first gene-targeted therapies for cancer, Avastin and Herceptin.

Desmond-Hellmann also served as a member of Genentech's executive committee, beginning in 1996. She sits on the boards of directors of Proctor and Gamble and Facebook, and was previously a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco's Economic Advisory Council. 

Desmond-Hellmann will take over from Jeff Raikes, who announced his retirement from the foundation in September 2013 after five years at the helm. He was the foundation's second CEO, and served after a long and successful career as a senior executive at Microsoft. 

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people-especially those with the fewest resources-have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

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