Facebook Names UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann to Board

Facebook Inc. said Susan Desmond-Hellmann, chancellor of the University of California at San Francisco, was elected as a director, adding a second woman to the board following calls for more diversity.

Desmond-Hellmann, 55, previously served as president of product development at biotechnology company Genentech Inc., where she worked for 14 years, Menlo Park, California-based Facebook said yesterday in a statement. The appointment brings the company’s total board count to nine members.

Facebook -- the largest social network, with more than 1 billion users around the world -- is diversifying its board to better reflect its membership, after advocacy groups last year urged the addition of women and minorities. The company in June named its first female director, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who has championed women’s efforts for advancement among executive ranks.

“Sue has a great track record of building and managing a diverse set of organizations, so her insights will be valuable as we continue to expand into new areas,” Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said in the statement. “Her experience shaping public policy and operating public companies fits well with the rest of the board and will make us an even stronger company.”

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As chancellor of UCSF, Desmond-Hellmann oversees the university and medical center’s strategy and operations. The university ranked No. 2 in clinical medicine and pharmacy in 2012, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities. Desmond-Hellmann is also a director at consumer-products maker Procter & Gamble Co.

At Genentech, her responsibilities included process research and development, business development and product portfolio management, according to Facebook. Desmond-Hellmann brought “numerous cutting-edge cancer medicines” to market, Facebook said. Her tenure at the biotech company coincided with that of Facebook Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman, who worked at Genentech until 2009.

Desmond-Hellmann also is a trustee for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a nonprofit research organization. She finished clinical training at her university and is board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology. She also holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of California at Berkeley.

The appointment follows a push by Zuckerberg and Sandberg to encourage sharing of organ-donor status on Facebook’s site last year. The effort aimed to spur more donations and ease wait times for transplants.

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