UT Nominates MD Anderson Alum Peter Pisters to Replace DePinho

Austin—The University of Texas System Board of Regents Friday afternoon announced that Peter W.T. Pisters from the University Health Network in Toronto as the sole finalist to lead UT’s MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The regents approved his nomination unanimously in a specially called board meeting in which board chairman Paul Foster said several candidates were interviewed in closed session.

“Dr. Pisters is deeply respected as both a strategic executive leader and a world-class physician,” Foster said in a press release. “I am confident that Dr. Pisters will foster and build upon the institution’s unique, dynamic environment of compassionate care, breakthroughs and discoveries.”

MD Anderson’s top spot was left vacant in March when former CEO Ronald DePinho announced he was stepping down after a sometimes rocky, six-year tenure at the helm. In sometimes emotional testimony via a video issued by MD Anderson, he apologized for not performing better.

“I could have done a better job administratively; I could’ve done a better job listening; I could’ve done a better job communicating,” he said in the video. “Forgive me for my shortcomings. I regret them.”

Should Pisters be appointed, it would mark a homecoming for him. Before he became UHN’s president and CEO in Toronto, Pisters spent 20 years at MD Anderson as a cancer surgeon, researcher, and administrator. When he left Houston in 2014, he was medical director of the institution’s six regional cancer centers, now known as the MD Anderson Cancer Network.

Prior to joining MD Anderson, Pisters worked at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center from 1992-94. He has a doctor of medicine from the University of Western Ontario School of Medicine and Dentistry, and a master’s in healthcare management from Harvard University’s School of Public Health.

Marshall Hicks will continue to serve as interim president as the Regents finalize Pisters’ appointment to the top job. Under state law, university governing boards must name finalists for a presidency at least 21 days before making an appointment.

“Identifying the right leader for this celebrated national treasure—one that inspires hope in people around the world—is a monumental decision, and I believe we have found that leader in Dr. Pisters,” UT System Chancellor William McRaven said in the release.

Angela Shah is the editor of Xconomy Texas. She can be reached at ashah@xconomy.com or (214) 793-5763. Follow @angelashah

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