Ina Fried

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Gates Foundation Picks UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann as Next CEO

Bill Gates has completed his search for a new CEO to lead the endeavor he started.


No, not Microsoft. That search is still under way. But his charitable foundation announced on Tuesday that it has picked University of California, San Francisco chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann to serve as its chief executive, succeeding Jeff Raikes, who had said earlier this year that he planned to step down once a successor was found.

Desmond-Hellmann, who joined Facebook’s board of directors earlier this year, will start at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on May 1, 2014.

“Sue’s background in public health policy, research and development, and higher education, make her an exceptional fit for this role,” Bill Gates said in a statement. “She impressed us as an innovator and an outstanding leader and manager.”

An oncologist by training, Desmond-Hellmann has been UCSF’s head since August 2009 and was the first woman to serve as the school’s chancellor.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald