The Cost Of Making A Mess: Ron’s Golden Parachute


Leonard Zwelling

This link is to the agenda and notes of the meeting of the Board of Regents of the UT System from March 28, 2017.

Scroll down and you will see a letter included from Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Greenberg to former MD Anderson President Ron DePinho outlining the conditions of Dr. DePinho’s continued employment with MD Anderson beyond his presidency.

Here’s a brief outline:

1. Professor of Cancer Biology
2. Declaration that the arrangement is in “the best interests of MD Anderson”
3. This is all according to the Texas Education Code Section 51.948.
4. Salary of $796,505 plus SAP (unclear if this is clinical or research SAP)
5. Reporting to Dr. Kalluri
6. An executive office will be converted for him of 237 sq. ft. with a conference room as well of 134 sq. ft.
7. He will have a $40,000 travel budget.
8. He will receive $1M per year for up to eight years for his research.
9. He will also receive an endowment that should yield about $150,000 per year.
10. He must abide by the institutional conflict of interest policy.
11. He cannot work for anyone who contracted with MD Anderson while he was president for the next two years.

Kids, it sounds to me like he will be here for the foreseeable future (where else is he able to go?) and he will be getting fat off the monies generated by the clinicians yet again. Or should I say, still.

This is a true outrage on every level. He resigned. He needs to go away not feed at the trough of the University of Texas. If this is the price of failure, I wish I had failed much bigger than I felt I had when I was fired in 2007 and had to hustle to find a fellowship in Washington during which I was allowed to draw half of my previous salary while away on sabbatical on Capitol Hill.

It is my suggestion that the Faculty Senate demand that Dr. DePinho draw a salary no larger than his chairman’s and presumably smaller. He should not be eligible for the clinical SAP even if he was as president. He should be given three years of reasonable support for his lab (not $1 M per year plus the $150,000 plus the travel) and then be expected to produce like the rest of the faculty of Cancer Biology.

I am sorry. It was bad enough that the powers that be in Austin allowed Dr. DePinho to wreck havoc on MD Anderson for over five years, but this is a golden parachute so big he may never land. Even President Bush 41 had a smaller parachute and he won a war!

Admiral Chancellor, what was the price of failure again in the SEALs? And, oh yes, how exactly is this good for MD Anderson and the UT System?

Finally, a huge thank you to all who read the blog. We have passed one million page views since the blog began. Amazing! I am humbled, but not enough to stop.

Leonard Zwelling