The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced Thursday that Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann will step down as chief executive of the foundation,media reported. Dr Desmond Herman, 62, took office five years ago and is the third CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 20 years.
Dr. Desmond-Herman is also the foundation’s first chief executive with a background as a research scientist and physician, and the first from outside Microsoft. Citing family and health reasons, she chose to leave the foundation, saying it was “the hardest decision of her career.”
“But one of the principles I believe in is ‘everything goes at your own pace,'” Dr Desmond-Herman wrote on Twitter. “
Mark Suzman, the foundation’s president of global policy and advocacy and chief strategy officer, will become the new chief executive in February. Suzman joined the Foundation in 2007 and has previously held various positions at the United Nations, including senior adviser on policy and strategic communications in the Office of Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
During her tenure as Dr. Desmond Herman, she was responsible for the foundation’s first major anti-poverty investment in the United States, setting up the Gates Median Research Institute to increase funding to improve and help women in developing countries avoid them. and donated a large sum of money to the University of Washington for health research.
“Susan has contributed to the Foundation with her scientific experience, leadership talent, passion for a strong internal culture, and most importantly, her determination to promote a healthier and more equal world,” The Foundation’s founder, Melinda Gates, wrote in a statement.
Dr. Desmond Herman became ceo of the foundation in 2014. At the time, the founder, Mr. and Mrs. Gates, said they were attracted by Dr. Desmond-Herman’s extensive experience in public health policy, research and development, and higher education.
Prior to joining the foundation, Dr. Desmond-Herman was president of the University of California, San Francisco. Prior to that, she oversaw Genentech’s drug development. In the 1980s and 1990s, she also treated and studied AIDS-related cancers in San Francisco and Uganda.