Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann is the Chief Executive Officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a position she has held since May 2014. Dr. Desmond-Hellmann leads the foundation's efforts to promote equity for all people around the world. She sets strategic priorities, monitors results, and facilitates relationships with key partners while drawing on her past experience in health and medicine.
Prior to joining the foundation in 2014, she was Chancellor of the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), responsible for all aspects of the professional and graduate schools, medical center, and research programs. She oversaw an in-depth review of the University’s business model, developed a comprehensive strategic plan, supported the creation of research partnerships with industry leaders such as Pfizer and Bayer, and appointed UCSF’s first Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Outreach. She remains a full tenured professor at UCSF.
Prior to UCSF, she spent 14 years at Genentech, where she served in a number of roles, ending as President, Product Development (2004 – 2009). In March 2013, she was appointed to the board of directors at Facebook Inc., and since 2010 she has served on the board of directors of the Procter & Gamble Company.
Dr. Desmond-Hellmann completed her undergraduate education and medical studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, followed by clinical training at UCSF, where she served as associate adjunct professor of epidemiology and biostatistics. She is board-certified in internal medicine and medical oncology and holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley. During her training at UCSF, she spent two years as a visiting faculty member at the Uganda Cancer Institute studying HIV/AIDS and cancer. She later worked for two years in private practice as a medical oncologist before returning to clinical research.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had no Ebola program when last year's crisis broke out in West Africa. CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann explains how the foundation innovated on the fly to help fight the disease.