The doctor who led the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's fight against AIDS and TB is leaving to become president and chief executive officer of CARE USA.
Dr. Helene Gayle will oversee an annual budget of $624 million and a staff of 12,000 in 70 countries.
In her five years as director of HIV, tuberculosis and reproductive health at the Gates Foundation, Gayle led a $200 million program to keep AIDS from overwhelming India, helped draft a plan to find an HIV vaccine and ramped up TB prevention, treatment and research. Projects in her $1.5 billion portfolio touch a range of people from truck drivers in Botswana to sex workers in China.
Patty Stonesifer, foundation co-chairwoman and president, said she would miss Gayle's leadership, intelligence and humor. "We are grateful for her many contributions," Stonesifer said.
Gayle's departure from the world's largest philanthropy leaves two top jobs there unfilled.
In September, Dr. Richard Klausner resigned as the foundation's executive director of global health. Klausner is under congressional investigation for alleged conflict of interest in a $40 million contract awarded to Harvard University when he was director of the National Cancer Institute.
Gayle, 50, was rumored to be on the short list to replace him, but said that taking the helm of CARE was irresistible.
Gayle left the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in 2001 to lead the Gates Foundation's AIDS programs.
She said she would be leaving the foundation with a "jumble of emotions," but called the CARE job an opportunity to get even more involved in the issues she cares about most.
"I went into medicine and public health to work on issues of social justice and inequity," Gayle said, adding that CARE operates even more directly than the Gates Foundation on the front lines of global poverty and social justice.
As CEO of CARE, Gayle will replace Peter Bell, 65, who is leaving after 10 years.
At the Gates Foundation, Dr. Nicholas Hellmann will be interim director of HIV, tuberculosis and reproductive health, reported AP. P.T.