Former executives from CNN, Gates Foundation and Microsoft join Hutch board of trustees

The cancer center continues to expand its business and tech bench as it seeks to speed the discovery of new cures
New board members Robert Herbold, Leigh Morgan and Phil Kent
New board of trustees members Robert "Bob" Herbold, Leigh Morgan and Phil Kent bring expertise in information technology, global health and media to Fred Hutch. Fred Hutch file

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center welcomed three new members to its board of trustees yesterday, adding expertise in information technology, media and global health.

The new trustees — Robert Herbold, Phil Kent and Leigh Morgan — have served, respectively, as executive vice president and chief operating officer at Microsoft Corp.; chairman and CEO at Turner Broadcasting System Inc.; and chief operating officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Their arrival comes almost a year after several other technology and business leaders, including Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Amazon Web Services Vice President Mike Clayville, became trustees.

“Our board is now even better prepared to support Fred Hutch’s scientists in their search to discover new cancer therapies that can save millions of lives,” said Christine “Chris” Gregoire, former Washington state governor, who was elected yesterday to a second term as board chair. “Bob, Phil and Leigh bring skills that will help the Hutch continue to transform cancer care, to integrate the most advanced technologies into its research, and to raise awareness globally of the challenges to curing cancer — and the tremendous progress we are making to achieving that goal.”

The newest board members all have extensive experience working with large, multinational organizations, though their individual backgrounds are diverse:

  • Robert “Bob” Herbold, managing director of the Herbold Group LLC consulting firm, was formerly executive vice president and chief operating officer at Microsoft, where from 1994 through 2001 he was responsible for finance, corporate marketing, market research, manufacturing and distribution, information systems, human resources and public relations. Prior to Microsoft, he spent 26 years at Procter & Gamble Co., serving for his last five years as senior vice president of marketing and information services. He previously served on the Hutch board from 2006 to 2010. A gift from Herbold and his wife led to the establishment in 2005 of the Herbold Computational Biology Program at Fred Hutch.
  • Phil Kent, who hails from Atlanta, is the retired chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting System Inc. He was responsible for a portfolio of news, entertainment and animation, young adult and kids networks and businesses including CNN, CNN International, and HLN; TBS, TNT, Turner Classic Movies and truTV; Cartoon Network and Adult Swim; and Turner Sports. Previously, he served as president and chief operating officer of CNN News Group. Currently Kent is chairman of VEVO LLC, a joint venture of Sony Music and Universal Music Group, which is one of the leading content channels on YouTube and the leading online distributor of music videos.
  • Leigh Morgan for three years served as chief operating officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she led its transformation efforts, including overseeing governance, human capital strategies, and digital and information security platforms. As a member of the executive leadership team, she also contributed to the foundation's international development and domestic education strategies. Her previous leadership roles include associate chancellor at the University of California, San Francisco and vice president and global head of human resources (product development) at biotech company Genentech.

“We are well on track to deliver new cures for many cancers in the next decade, and I believe that Bob, Phil and Leigh are going to make important contributions to the Hutch’s efforts,” said Dr. Gary Gilliland, Fred Hutch’s president and director.

Along with electing three new trustees, the board re-elected two current trustees to another term: Peter Neupert, an adviser to health technology companies, and Kathy Surace-Smith, vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for NanoString Technologies Inc.

Also, in addition to re-electing Gregoire as chair, the board re-elected Matt McIlwain, managing director of Madrona Ventures Group, as the board’s vice chair and chair-elect; Norm Metcalfe, a private equity investor, as treasurer; and Ric Anderson, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Washington Real Estate Holdings, as board secretary.

Gregoire offered special thanks to three departing trustees: Ronald Howell, CEO and president of Washington Research Foundation; Henry James, a former partner at Goldman Sachs; and Stephen Zaruby, a biotech and pharmaceutical executive. “We are grateful to Ron, Henry and Steve for their service as trustees,” she said. “Fred Hutch is stronger today because of their work.”

In addition to the moves on the board, the Hutch recently hired two new senior executives, Vice President of Communications & Marketing Lynann Bradbury and Vice President of Government & Community Relations Jennifer Griffith. Fred Hutch is also growing its faculty, with recent recruitments in areas such as immunotherapy and transplantation, solid tumor research and fundamental science.

Gilliland sees a common thread among the new faculty, executive and trustee additions: “With millions of lives at stake, the urgency of this mission has drawn them and other talented, dedicated people to join the Hutch and advance our work to eliminate the suffering caused by cancer.”

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