Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Announces Leadership Transition

Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., today announced he will step down as president and chief executive officer of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, effective December 31, 2015. Preston W. Campbell III, M.D., currently the Foundation's executive vice president for medical affairs, will succeed Dr. Beall as president and CEO.

July 13, 2015 | 6 min read

(Bethesda, Md.) -- The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation today announced that Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., will step down as president and chief executive officer, effective December 31, 2015. He will be succeeded by Preston W. Campbell III, M.D., currently the Foundation's executive vice president for medical affairs, a position he has held since 1998. 

During his 35 years with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation -- 21 years as its president and CEO -- Beall has had a profound impact on the lives of people with CF. When he joined the Foundation, the median predicted age of survival for a person with the disease was 18 years of age - today it is more than 40 years. For the first time ever, more than 50 percent of people with CF are over 18 years of age. CF is no longer a pediatric disease.

“Since the Foundation was established, people with CF and their families have inspired us to reach milestones that once seemed unachievable,” said Beall. “When I joined the Foundation in 1980, people with CF and their families had very little reason to hope for a better tomorrow. Now, we have two groundbreaking treatments that attack the underlying cause of the disease, an extensive nationwide network of CF care centers and a community of people with CF who are living longer, healthier lives than ever before.”

Beall continued: “Despite these achievements, we know there is still so much work to be done. I am confident that Dr. Campbell, my trusted colleague, will guide the Foundation through our next era of groundbreaking research and care. I would like to thank my colleagues, partners and the families in the CF community for giving me the opportunity to lead this wonderful organization. It has been one of the great pleasures and privileges of my life.

Seamless Transition to New Leadership

A CF trailblazer in his own right, Campbell has worked side by side with Beall for nearly two decades. In addition to overseeing the Foundation's research and drug discovery and development efforts, Campbell directs its clinical trials program, network of care centers and national patient registry database.

An accomplished pediatric pulmonologist, Campbell previously served as center director at the Vanderbilt University CF Care Center, where he expanded the program from 30 patients to more than 300 in just five years. Until recently, he continued to provide direct clinical care to patients at the Johns Hopkins CF Care Center.

“It is an honor to follow the path laid out by Dr. Beall and to build upon his tremendous achievements,” said Campbell. “This is an exciting time for the Foundation. We are accelerating our mission to pursue daring new research, which we hope will one day lead to a lifetime cure, while we continue to expand services that help people with CF enjoy the best health and quality of life. As always, the needs of people with CF will guide everything that we do moving forward.”

Beall and Campbell will work closely together to provide for a seamless transition of leadership and ensure the Foundation's strong momentum continues.

Innovative Approach to Research 

“Dr. Beall has set a new standard for entrepreneurship in leadership of a nonprofit medical research foundation,” said Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Institutes of Health and co-discoverer of the cystic fibrosis gene. “His willingness to take major risks, while fully aware of the potential for failure, has led to the dramatic advances in the treatment of cystic fibrosis that the entire world now celebrates. While there is still much more to do before cystic fibrosis is vanquished, the momentum is unstoppable. Let us pause to give thanks to Bob - we got this far because he dared to dream.”

Beall pioneered the Foundation's successful venture philanthropy model, which has been a game changer in CF research and drug development. In 1997, he established the Foundation's Therapeutics Development Program, a unique coalition that has advanced CF drug development through a centralized network of clinical trials and alliances with biotech companies. The program has been responsible for a continuum of breakthrough treatments, including Kalydeco™ and the recently approved Orkambi™, both of which attack the underlying cause of the disease. 

Unprecedented Accomplishments 

“We are profoundly grateful for Dr. Beall's leadership and in awe of his many accomplishments. During his more than three decades with the Foundation, he has had a transformative impact on the CF community,” said Catherine C. McLoud, chair of the CF Foundation Board of Trustees. “It would be difficult to point to another nonprofit leader who has made such a dramatic difference in the lives of people with a disease, and nobody beats Dr. Beall's record of innovation and passionate commitment to our mission.”

About the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the world's leader in the search for a cure for cystic fibrosis. The Foundation funds more cystic fibrosis research than any other organization, and nearly every CF drug available today was made possible because of Foundation support. Based in Bethesda, Md., the Foundation also supports and accredits a national care center network that has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health as a model of care for a chronic disease. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is a donor-supported nonprofit organization. 

Media Contact

Amy DeMaria, Senior Vice President of Communications,

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