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Tachi Yamada Selected to Lead Global Health Program – Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Phone: 206.709.3400

SEATTLE -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced that Dr. Tadataka (Tachi) Yamada has been named executive director of the foundation’s Global Health program. Dr. Yamada, currently Chairman of Research and Development at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), will start work at the foundation in June.

“Melinda and I are thrilled to have someone with Dr. Yamada’s breadth of experience leading the foundation’s work on global health,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the foundation. “He’s organized the best talent around big challenges, knows what it takes to bring promising science from the lab to people in need, and understands how to engage new partners. We look forward to working with him to help close the gap in health between rich and poor countries.” 

“Dr. Yamada will be an outstanding leader for our Global Health program,” said Patty Stonesifer, CEO of the foundation. “He’s an innovative scientist, an accomplished manager, and he shares our deep commitment to improving health in the developing world. He has the skills and experience needed to advance our three major priorities: accelerating research and product development, delivering health tools to people who need them, and building resources and political commitment for global health.”

In his new position, Dr. Yamada will lead the foundation’s efforts to develop and deliver drugs, vaccines, and other tools to fight developing-world diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria. He will oversee the foundation’s global health grant portfolio, which includes more than $5.7 billion in active grants.

“I’m deeply honored to join this extraordinary organization,” said Dr. Yamada. “The Gates Foundation is bringing new energy, resources, and attention to long-neglected health problems. I look forward to joining the foundation’s staff, grantees, and partners as they work to transform health in the world’s poorest countries, and save millions of lives.”

Dr. Yamada has been chairman of R&D at GSK since 2001, and joined the company’s Board in 2004. At GSK he oversaw more than 100 clinical projects, a budget exceeding $4 billion, and more than 15,000 employees. He has been credited with transforming research and development efforts at GSK, and expanding its product pipeline. 

Prior to GSK, Dr. Yamada held several senior positions at SmithKline Beecham over five years, including chairman of R&D. He was previously chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School, where he continues to serve as an Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine.

Dr. Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, said, “Tachi has a rare combination of skills and talents: he knows how to manage large organizations, he has keen scientific insight, and as a physician, he understands the real needs of patients. I’ll miss him, personally and professionally, but I’m delighted that he is joining such a groundbreaking organization. GSK is very proud to be working closely with the Gates Foundation and its grantees to accelerate R&D on malaria, TB, and other neglected diseases.”

Dr. Yamada is a trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a foundation that promotes global sustainable development, peace, democracy, and security. He is past President of the Association of American Physicians, past President of the American Gastroenterological Association, Master of the American College of Physicians, and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He has been a board member of the American Board of Internal Medicine and a member at large of the National Board of Medical Examiners. 

Allan C. Golston, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will continue to serve as interim executive director of global health until Dr. Yamada begins work in his new capacity in June.

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