Senior Changes At The Gates Foundation With An IP Twist

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The head of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Health Program intends to retire from his position in June, according to a press release. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s leading international advocate for intellectual property rights has joined the Gates Foundation Global Health Program.

Tachi Yamada is leaving after five years as president of the programme. Before that, he served as chairman of research and development and was a member of the board of directors at GlaxoSmithKline.

World Health Organization’s Director General said Margaret Chan said in the release that Yamada had “built a long-lasting partnership with the WHO and we look forward to remaining deeply engaged with the Gates Foundation.”

During his time, Yamada oversaw the tripling of the global health grant portfolio, according to the release, and led the foundation into investing heavily in “high-risk, high reward projects with long-term benefits, such as the creation of new vaccines.” The foundation said it is “undertaking a global search for his successor.”

Meanwhile, Richard Wilder, former associate general counsel for intellectual property policy at Microsoft Corporation, has joined the Gates Foundation as associate general counsel, focusing on Global Health Program issues, according to a foundation spokesperson. Wilder in the past was director of the Global Intellectual Property Issues Division at the World Intellectual Property Organization, member of an expert commission at the World Health Organization, and a partner at Sidley Austin. At Gates, IP rights will be among the legal issues in his responsibility, the spokesperson said.

Catherine Saez may be reached at

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