Ted Waitt, chair of the board of trustees at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, announced he will be leaving his post, the timing of which he said was unrelated to recent lawsuits facing the scientific research institution in La Jolla.
In a letter to the Salk board obtained by the San Diego Business Journal, Waitt said he’ll step down at the end of his term in November because of changing personal obligations, and that he already resigned from two other nonprofit boards. A new chair is scheduled to be elected in November as part of the Salk board’s normal governance routine.
“While it has been an immense honor to have served as board chair over the past year, the role unfortunately has come at a time when my personal obligations have changed unexpectedly. After careful consideration and reflection with my wife I have made the difficult decision to eliminate all of my external board service.”
He continues: “As you well know, the Salk has been in the news recently as a result of the unfortunate lawsuits the Institute is facing. While saddened by these events, I feel compelled to say directly and unequivocally that the timing of this move is in no way related; this decision is entirely personal in nature.”
Three female researchers filed separate lawsuits in July alleging that Salk is an old boy’s club that discriminates against women professors in terms of pay, promotions and other opportunities. The institute has stated there is no basis for the allegations, according to media reports.
Waitt, the co-founder of Gateway Inc., a pioneer in the direct marketing of personal computers, joined the Salk Board of Trustees in 2004.
His announcement comes one day ahead of the annual Symphony at Salk concert. Waitt wrote that he looks forward to co-hosting the benefactors’ dinner portion of the event with his wife.
In addition, he stated that he’s confident the passing of the baton will be seamless, and that Salk is poised for a successful future.
“In fact, the litigation notwithstanding, the Salk is, in many respects, in the best position – financially and organizationally – it has ever been, having posted operating surpluses averaging $1.1 million for the last three fiscal years and raising an astonishing $361 million - $61 million more than the goal – during our Campaign for Salk.”