Committee seeks proxy for resigning president

Allie Kolechta

The president of the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston announced his intention Monday to step down from his position after 15 years, as soon as a committee for the center appoints a replacement.

During John Mendelsohn’s time as president, the center doubled the number of patients and the size of faculty as well as tripling the amount of facilities, the number of trainees and participants in experimental trials.

“We’ve got a wonderful team of people here,” he said. “I reached the point where I’m in my 15th year, and we’ve really expanded the excellence of the center. It makes sense to turn over the position while you’re on top of your game.”

The center has the largest program for experimental trials in the country, and Mendelsohn said he focused his time on expanding research programs and scientific advancements.

“Now Houston is on the map not just because of space and energy, but because of medicine,” he said.

Mendelsohn plans to remain on the faculty at the cancer center as codirector of its new Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy. He will leave the position as soon as his successor is chosen, he said.

“We plan to continue making the very best care available to our cancer patients,” he said. “We plan to continue to contribute, continue to see our friends and continue to work with our admired colleagues here at the center.”

UT System Vice Chancellor Kenneth Shine will head a search committee of about 10 to 15 people to find potential replacements, said Matt Flores, a UT System spokesman. Flores said the committee will likely include people from the hospital.

“There hasn’t been any great move forward,” he said. “There’s no time table right now because we’re obviously so early on in the process.”