Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New Head of Life Sciences Initiative Not from the Life Sciences Discipline. Does It Matter?

In a post on Taking Down Words, they ask the question: "Does anyone else think it's weird that the guy who's going to be leading Indiana's life sciences outreach on behalf of the State has absolutely no life sciences experience?"

"David A. Boncosky, a Central Indiana real estate development manger and marketing executive, has been named director of Indiana Economic Development Corporation's life sciences initiative.

"The IEDC said his position takes effect Aug. 6 and that as director, the Indianapolis native will lead the IEDC's efforts to attract and retain high-tech, high-paying jobs in the state.

"'David is an experienced sales and marketing professional that has demonstrated a passion and ability for successfully negotiating deals,' said Nathan Feltman, Secretary of Commerce and chief executive officer of the IEDC. 'He will play a vital role in further developing our life sciences economy.'"

Business acumen is great; however, subject matter expertise (or at least solid working knowledge) can't be underrated. Still, we're in the midst of a trend in putting CFO's in the top spot when playing executive "musical chairs." Take Thomson for example, a technology company that is run by their former CFO (note: not a techie).

Does this matter? I think so. Universities have, essentially two execute track: the university president and the provost, who is essentially the president of academics (the university's core business). Hospitals, too, have a medical director, responsible for medicine and treatment (again, their core business) and an president.