He succeeds Irwin Jacobs, philanthropist and founder of San Diego-based Qualcomm, who has held the position since 2006, and chose to step down on the 10th anniversary of his chairmanship. He will serve as chairman emeritus.
“I am delighted the trustees unanimously agreed that Ted is the right successor to lead the board,” said Jacobs. “He is wholly enthusiastic and committed to Salk’s basic biological research and has the enterprising leadership and vision to expand the reach of the Institute’s science even further.”
Salk Institute President Elizabeth Blackburn said she is “thrilled” to have Waitt as chairman because of “his financial acumen and entrepreneurship, as well as his extensive experience as a Salk trustee.” Waitt joined the Salk board in 2004.
In 2008, the Waitt Foundation gave a $20 million to fund the Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Center at Salk.
“I have big shoes to fill,” said Waitt. “I look forward to working closely with Dr. Blackburn, the faculty and the trustees to implement Dr. Blackburn’s vision for bold, transformative science while ushering in an era of unprecedented financial success at Salk.”
The Salk Institute in La Jolla is one of the world’s preeminent basic research institutions. Founded in 1960 by polio vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk, the institute is an independent nonprofit organization and architectural landmark.
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