Co-chairs Bill and Melinda Gates along with Bill Gates’ father have turned to academia to fill their CEO spot vacated in September when Jeff Raikes announced his retirement.

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Gates Foundation announces new CEO

The Gates Foundation announced today that Susan Desmond-Hellmann, the present chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco, will take over as the chief executive officer beginning May 1, 2014.

A statement from the foundation announcing the appointment today read:

“We chose Sue because of her scientific knowledge and deep technical expertise on the Gates Foundation’s issues, as well as the organizational and leadership skills required to lead a large, growing and dynamic global organization. Sue shares our commitment and passion to create a more equitable world.”

Susan’s background

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

Unlike Raikes, a former Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) executive under foundation co-chairman Bill Gates, Desmond-Hellman has a background in public health policy and biotech. She also serves on the boards of Genentech, Procter & Gamble and Facebook.

Desmond-Hellmann, an oncologist by training, took the reins at UCSF in August 2009 becoming the first woman to serve as the medical campus’ chancellor. Prior to UCSF, she was president of product development at Genetech where she was pivotal in the development of gene-targeted therapies for cancer, Avastin and Herceptin.

Desmond-Hellmann will now be charged with leading the world’s largest foundation once she finishes out the year at UCSF.