In a statement the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation stated, its Chief Executive Sue Desmond-Hellmann will be stepping down after more than five years, and Mark Suzman will be replacing her.
Desmond-Hellmann stated, she was stepping down from the Gates Foundation from February 2020 in order to to “care properly for myself and my family.”
As of October, Desmond-Hellmann was also on the board of Facebook Inc.
She was also the Chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco, and was the first woman to hold that post. She had also worked at Genentech, a pharmaceutical firm now owned by Roche, where she helped develop some of its first gene-targeted cancer drugs – Avastin and Herceptin.
“This was without a doubt the toughest decision of my career. But… one of my mantras is: take your own pulse first. Over the last few weeks and months, I have done just that and concluded that I need to slow down,” said Desmond-Hellmann in a letter to Foundation employees.
With nearly $50 billion in assets, the Gates Foundation, led Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, is one of the world’s largest funders of global health programmes to combat disease and poverty.
Desmond-Hellmann’s successor, Mark Suzman, joined the Gates Foundation in 2007 and is currently its chief strategy officer.