Two longtime City of Hope leaders have announced they will step down from their posts to focus full time on their research.
Arthur Riggs, Ph.D., director of Beckman Research Institute, and Theodore Krontiris, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for medical and scientific affairs and director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, will leave their administrative positions Dec. 1.
Riggs and Krontiris planned and announced their decisions together for what they felt was the best time for City of Hope — a time when the institution is on the rise and gaining momentum, said Michael A. Friedman, M.D., president and chief executive officer.
“I respectfully accept their decision to pass the torch to the next generation of scientific leadership and appreciate their continuing contributions to City of Hope,” Friedman said.
“We are pleased that Art will continue as professor of biology and emeritus director of Beckman Research Institute, focusing his talents on intriguing scientific problems, including those of diabetes and metabolic disease. At the same time, we are grateful that Ted has agreed to continue as Cancer Center director in order to complete the one remaining task for our achieving full Comprehensive Cancer Center status. Additionally, he will continue as professor of molecular medicine and serve as emeritus director of City of Hope’s Comprehensive Cancer Center after the NCI review.”
Friedman noted that a transition plan is in place.
“Looking ahead, we are fortunate to have not only the ongoing advice and support of Art and Ted, but also very strong interim leadership as we conduct the search for the most qualified individuals to direct Beckman Research Institute and City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center.”
As part of City of Hope’s transition plan, Richard Jove, Ph.D., chair of molecular medicine and deputy director of the cancer center, will serve as interim director of Beckman Research Institute, Friedman said. He will oversee the institute’s capital, recruitment and academic issues. Jove will continue to serve as deputy director of the cancer center during this transition period.
After Krontiris leaves his post as executive vice president on Dec. 1, Robert Figlin, M.D., the Arthur and Rosalie Kaplan Professor of Medical Oncology and associate director for clinical research in the cancer center, will assume several of the executive vice president’s roles, such as serving as the institutional officer responsible for human research subjects protection.
Some of the executive vice president roles will be assumed by Jove as director of Beckman Research Institute, particularly those related to basic science faculty and research laboratories.
Additional executive vice president roles will be assumed by Alexandra Levine, M.D., chief medical officer, who will oversee academic and programmatic matters related to physicians and their practice in the medical center.
Krontiris will continue as cancer director until summer 2008, and during the transition, Figlin will work closely with Krontiris to ensure continuing development of the cancer center, such as establishing disease programs and overseeing the improvement of clinical trials infrastructure.
Friedman praised both Riggs and Krontiris, who have been pivotal figures in developing City of Hope’s national reputation.
In Riggs’ 38 years at City of Hope, Friedman noted, he has served as a leader in a great many ways: as chair of the Division of Biology, associate director for research and founding dean of City of Hope’s graduate school. Riggs also has profoundly influenced the field of biology, as reflected through his election to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.
Krontiris, who joined City of Hope in 1996, has led City of Hope through two critical, successful renewal cycles for the cancer center’s core grant and has contributed greatly to the institution’s growth and success, Friedman said.
“Thanks in no small part to Art and Ted’s leadership, City of Hope has never been stronger in our staff, our financial resources, patient volumes, fundraising, national awareness and external accolades, and in so many other areas,” he said.
John Rossi, Ph.D., the Lidow Family Research Chair and professor in the Division of Molecular Biology, will lead a faculty search committee for the new director of Beckman Research Institute. Recommendations are expected by December. “I believe that this time line is appropriate because of the quality of internal candidates, the importance of this position in our organization and the value of maintaining scientific momentum, uninterrupted,” Friedman said.
At the same time, City of Hope will begin to form a faculty search committee and conduct a national search for the next cancer center director.
“This is, without doubt, a very significant transition for our scientific faculty and programs.” Friedman said.
“However, I see it more as a continuation of our record of impressive successes. Knowing that we have the support of Drs. Riggs and Krontiris, and that experienced leaders of the caliber of Drs. Levine, Figlin and Jove are stepping forward to make sure that we continue to make progress on our plans and goals, gives me great confidence that we will embrace this as an opportunity to celebrate the legacy of two exceptional scientific leaders and work hard to build upon it.”