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Captains of Medicine 

Wednesday, Jan 29 1997
Nothing exemplifies business' new domination of health care more than the (mostly fraternal) order of bigwigs named to direct UCSF Stanford Health Services.

Three outside directors were named by a committee, selected by the upper echelon of Stanford and UCSF.

The committee:
* Local business giant Don Fischer, founder and chairman of The Gap Inc.;
* William Coblentz, senior partner at Coblentz, Cahen, McCabe & Breyer;
* Robert Halperin, former vice chairman of Raychem Corp.; and
* Ernest Mario, CEO of Alza Corp.
The outside directors they selected:

* F. Warren Hellman, general partner in the investment firm of Hellman & Friedman, a director of Levi Strauss Co. (as a member of the Haas family), and the man who led the review of the proposed merger;

* Richard Rosenberg, former chairman and CEO of BankAmerica Corp.; and
* Richard Behrman, a clinical professor of pediatrics at both Stanford and UCSF, and managing director of the Center for the Future of Children, part of the David and Lucille Packard Foundation (one of Stanford's largest donors).

In addition to the outside directors, the Stanford trustees' representatives include the following:

* Palo Alto investment guru Isaac Stein, former chairman of the executive committee of Raychem (see Halperin), and member of the Haas Center for Public Service National Advisory Board and former chairman of clothing manufacturer Esprit de Corps;

* Denise O'Leary, one of only two women on the new board, and a board member of the Western Association of Venture Capitalists; and

* Woodrow Myers Jr., former state health commissioner in New York and Indiana (where he drew the ire of gay rights activists who claimed his AIDS policies favored heterosexuals) and former vice chairman of President Ronald Reagan's Commission on AIDS.

The University of California Board of Regents named the following to the board:

* Farming and timber magnate Howard Leach, former finance chair of the Republican Party and top fund-raiser for Gov. Pete Wilson;

* Tirso del Junco, a San Diego doctor and two-time state Republican chairman; and

* UC President Richard Atkinson, who, of course, answers to the Board of Regents (see Leach and del Junco).

UCSF Chancellor Joseph Martin, a neurologist widely respected by his faculty physicians, will likely be gone before taking a seat on the board of the new entity he helped to create. A week before the regents were set to vote on the deal, Martin announced that he was leaving to head Harvard Medical School July 1.

Beyond their clubbiness, many of these players share abiding commercial interests in things like drugs or biotechnology or medical supplies:

* Both Stein and O'Leary are on the board of directors of Palo Alto-based Alza Corp. (see Mario), a researcher and developer of pharmaceutical products.

* Stein also sits on the board of CV Therapeutics, a Palo Alto biopharmaceutical company whose products are based on molecular cardiology research.

* Leach, who directs Cypress Farms Inc. in Salinas, is former chairman of Sybron Corp., a New Jersey manufacturer of laboratory, dental, and medical products.

* And Myers is director of health care management at Ford Motor Co.
John Lundberg, an attorney for the University of California, dismisses the idea that the pinstripes' other business dealings might raise an eyebrow. The board is not paid, he says, and if any issue came up involving a company or an investment to which a board member was attached, that board member would excuse himself from a vote.

Besides, this sort of thing happens all the time. It's how business works. Now it's how UCSF Stanford Health Services works.


About The Author

Lisa Davis


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