Russell Reynolds Associates Seeks President for Whitehead Institute

April 9, 2019 – The non-profit Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research has tapped Russell Reynolds Associates to find its next president and director. The recruitment firm will conduct an international search.

David C. Page, who has led the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-affiliated organization since 2004, completes his term in the summer of 2020.

“David’s tenure as director has been a period of incredible richness for Whitehead Institute,” said Charles D. Ellis, chair of the Whitehead Institute’s board of directors. “It has been rich in the path-breaking science that our researchers have done, in the intellectual ferment and creative environment that Whitehead Members have fostered, and in the sense of community and common purpose that David has nurtured. He has led us with great skill and vision through a dynamic period of growth and continuous exploration, and he will pass to his successor an organization primed to tackle the challenges offered by a swiftly evolving bioscience landscape.”

A Venerable Team

Russell Reynolds Associates will partner with the Whitehead Institute’s presidential search committee, led by chair Susan Hockfield, professor of neuroscience and president emerita at MIT. The committee, made up of leaders in education, biomedical research and non-profit organizations, includes: Laurie H. Glimcher, president and chief executive officer of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and former Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College; Alan Grossman, professor of biology and department Head, MIT Department of Biology; Paul L. Joskow, former president and CEO of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and professor of economics emeritus at MIT; Amy E. Keating, professor in the departments of biology and biological Engineering at MIT; David Sabatini, Whitehead Institute member and associate director and professor of biology at MIT; Phillip A. Sharp,
Nobel Laureate, institute professor and professor of biology at MIT; Sarah Williamson, CEO of FCLT Global, and former partner at Wellington Management Co.

“Whitehead Institute is one of the world’s premier research institutions,” said Dr. Hockfield. “It possesses an innovative and collaborative culture, rich talent and intellectual capital, a robust relationship with MIT and a place at the heart of the Kendall Square innovation community. These factors make it an ideal opportunity for a director with vision, scientific courage and a passion to address basic biomedical science’s most significant challenges.”

As director, Dr. Page has made a mark on all facets of the Whitehead Institute organization. Among his accomplishments, he oversaw the creation of the institute’s Intellectual Property Office, strengthened its core facilities and established new platforms, such as the Metabolomics Center. He also enhanced the leadership structure by appointing three associate directors, and he supported the creation of the child care center. He is also credited with guiding a strong renewal of faculty and has helped to prepare the organization for the eventual retirement of the institute’s founding generation of members.

Driving Biomedical Research

“The scientists of Whitehead Institute have helped to drive biomedical research forward and onto exciting new paths,” said Dr. Page. “In coming years, the Institute itself will experience a generational evolution, and my successor will help define the organization’s future — and by extension, help shape the direction of biomedical research for decades to come.”

Throughout his 35 years at Whitehead Institute, Dr. Page has run a thriving and productive research lab, said the non-profit. His groundbreaking studies on the Y chromosome changed the way biomedical science views the function of sex chromosomes. That work earned him wide recognition, including a Macarthur Foundation Fellowship and a Searle Scholar Award. He has been an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1990.

Since its founding in 1982, Whitehead Institute has been one of the world’s most influential biomedical research centers — producing a continual stream of significant discoveries and new research tools and approaches. Whitehead Institute is a legally and financially independent organization closely affiliated with MIT, and Whitehead Institute members hold MIT faculty appointments.

A Top Search Firm

Russell Reynolds Associates’ public sector, trade and associations practice group serves a wide variety of public sector and not-for-profit organizations, related public bodies, regulators and government-owned companies. It also fills the executive leadership needs of global charities, healthcare providers and local government and trade associations.

Russell Reynolds’ consultants have extensive experience with recruiting, developing and advising exceptional board members, CEOs and specific senior functional leadership for non-profit organizations around the world. The firm also conducts in-depth organizational culture assessment and measures the cultural fit of key leadership and candidates in the following areas: arts and culture, global development, higher education, non-profit health and human services, public sector, social justice and advocacy, as well as trade and professional associations.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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