Trounson is leaving CIRM to spend more time with his family, who are literally located around the world in Australia. In an email to the CIRM community, Trounson said: “I need to reconnect with my family.”
While Trounson stays on in the interim as CIRM will search for a new President, it is unclear how long that process might take. Timing is an important issue because CIRM is at a critical juncture as it only has a few years left of funding in the current situation barring some new development.
One challenge for the Presidential Search Committee will be simply to find someone of that stature in the stem cell field to fill Trounson’s shoes, but another big one is that CIRM is at a very different time point than when he joined the agency.
A new CIRM President will find herself or himself tasked with not only running the agency, but also leading the agency to what will likely be a new kind of future. The new President will need vision as to what CIRM will do once the funding from Prop 71 runs out in a few years and they’ll also need the know-how and management skills to make that vision into a reality.
There aren’t that many people in the entire world who have the chops to take that on and be successful. I’m very curious to see who the new President will be. Whoever is chosen as the new CIRM President, they will be fortunate to be working with Jonathan Thomas as Chair of the CIRM ICOC Board. Thomas has proven himself a skilled, creative leader.
According to Kevin McCormack, Sr. Director Public Communications & Patient Advocate Outreach for CIRM, “the Board plans to begin the search for a new President immediately. The first step is to convene a presidential search committee and to hold meetings to discuss the criteria for the position.”