UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann Joins Facebook’s Board, Adding Another Woman Alongside Sandberg

Facebook today added a new member to its board of directors, Susan Desmond-Hellmann, M.D. Dr. Desmond-Hellman currently serves as the chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco.

Prior to assuming the chancellorship at UCSF in 2009, Desmond-Hellmann served as president of product development at biotech giant Genentech, where she worked for 14 years. She completed her clinical training at UCSF and is board-certified in internal medicine and medical oncology; she holds a BS in pre-medicine and a medical degree from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a master’s in public health from the University of California, Berkeley. She also serves on the board of directors at Procter & Gamble.

Desmond-Hellmann is now the second woman on Facebook’s current board, alongside Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg. She’s also the second board member from the high realms of academia, alongside University of North Carolina president emeritus Erskine Bowles.

The timing of the announcement is likely coincidental, and of course Desmond-Hellmann is not defined solely by her gender, but it’s a complementary news item on the same day that Sandberg’s non-profit ‘Lean In‘ organization has officially launched. Lean In is aimed at encouraging women to stay engaged and ambitious in their careers as they build their family lives.

The remainder of Facebook’s board, in addition to Sandberg and Bowles, includes Mark Zuckerberg, Marc L. Andreessen, James W. Breyer, Donald E. Graham, Reed Hastings, and Peter A. Thiel.

Here is the announcement:

Facebook announced today that Susan Desmond-Hellmann , M.D., M.P.H., chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), has been elected to the company’s board of directors.

“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,” said Mark Zuckerberg , founder and CEO of Facebook. “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.”

“I’ve always been drawn to organizations that do ground-breaking work,” said Desmond-Hellmann. “Facebook has an ambitious mission and long-term vision of innovation that is transforming how people connect with one another. I’m proud to be part of a company that is serving such an important purpose in the world.”

As UCSF Chancellor, Desmond-Hellmann oversees all aspects of the university and medical center’s strategy and operations. She previously served as president, product development at the biotechnology pioneer, Genentech. In this role, she was responsible for Genentech’s pre-clinical and clinical development, process research and development, business development and product portfolio management. During her 14 years with the company, Desmond-Hellmann brought numerous cutting-edge cancer medicines to market to help people battle the disease.

Desmond-Hellmann completed her clinical training at UCSF and is board-certified in internal medicine and medical oncology. During her training at UCSF, she spent two years as a visiting faculty member at the Uganda Cancer Institute, studying HIV/AIDS and cancer. She also holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley.

Desmond-Hellmann is on the board of directors for Procter & Gamble, and she also serves as a trustee for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a nonprofit medical research organization.

Aside from Desmond-Hellmann, Facebook’s current board members are: Mark Zuckerberg ; Marc L. Andreessen , Andreessen Horowitz; Erskine B. Bowles , president emeritus, University of North Carolina; James W. Breyer , Accel Partners; Donald E. Graham , chairman and CEO, The Washington Post Company; Reed Hastings , chairman and CEO, Netflix; Sheryl Sandberg , chief operating officer, Facebook; and Peter A. Thiel , Founders Fund.