Donald H. Rumsfeld Named Chairman of Gilead Sciences
Gilead Sciences Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD) today announced that board member Donald H. Rumsfeld will assume the position of Chairman, effective immediately. Mr. Rumsfeld succeeds Michael L. Riordan, M.D., who founded Gilead in 1987 and has served as Chairman since 1993. Dr. Riordan will continue to serve as a director on the board.
"Gilead is fortunate to have had Don Rumsfeld as a stalwart board member since the company's earliest days, and we are very pleased that he has accepted the Chairmanship," Dr. Riordan said. "He has played an important role in helping to build and steer the company. His broad experience in leadership positions in both industry and government will serve us well as Gilead continues to build its commercial presence."
"In my years with Gilead, I have witnessed the evolution of one of the industry's premier biotechnology companies," Mr. Rumsfeld said. "Michael Riordan's founding vision and enormous accomplishments are evident in the VISTIDE® product approval, deep pipeline and talented team that will continue to move Gilead to develop novel treatments for viral diseases."
Mr. Rumsfeld, who joined Gilead as a director in 1988, is currently in private business and is distinguished for his accomplishments in both industry and government. Mr. Rumsfeld served as chief executive officer of G.D. Searle, a worldwide pharmaceutical company, from 1977 to 1985. During this time, his stewardship of Searle earned him awards as the Outstanding Chief Executive Officer in the pharmaceutical industry in 1980 and 1981. He also served as chairman and chief executive of General Instrument Corporation, a diversified electronics company and world leader in broadband and all digital high definition television technology.
A graduate of Princeton University, Mr. Rumsfeld has served in numerous positions of public service, including four terms in the U.S. Congress, U.S. Ambassador to NATO, White House Chief of Staff and as the 13th Secretary of Defense. In 1977, Mr. Rumsfeld was awarded the nation's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In addition to Gilead, Mr. Rumsfeld presently serves as an advisor to several companies and as a member of the board of directors of ABB AB; Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.; Kellogg; Metricom, Inc.; Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Tribune Company. Mr. Rumsfeld's current civic activities include service on the board of trustees of the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowship, Freedom House and the RAND Corporation.
Dr. Riordan will continue to assist the company with strategic direction through his involvement on the board of directors. Since founding the company in 1987, Riordan has overseen Gilead's evolution to a leading biotechnology company with its first approved product and a diversified pipeline of antiviral therapies.
"Michael Riordan's vision and leadership have guided Gilead from a start-up to a commercial company, and we are pleased to rely on his continued counsel as an active board member," John C. Martin, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Gilead said. "Over the past several years, I have enjoyed working with Don Rumsfeld as an active director and look forward to his new role as Chairman as we continue to build the Gilead business."
Gilead Sciences is a leader in the discovery and development of a new class of human therapeutics based on nucleotides, the building blocks of DNA and RNA. In 1996, Gilead's first product, VISTIDE (cidofovir injection), was cleared by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for the treatment of cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis in patients with AIDS. Gilead has other nucleotide product candidates in human testing for the potential treatment of viral diseases caused by CMV, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus, herpes simplex virus and human papillomavirus.
The Company's research and development efforts encompass three interrelated programs: small molecule antivirals, cardiovascular therapeutics and genetic code blockers for cancer and other diseases. Gilead's expertise in each of these areas has also resulted in the discovery and development of non-nucleotide product candidates, including neuraminidase inhibitors for the potential treatment and prevention of viral influenza and protease inhibitors for the potential treatment of HIV.