Texas Medical Center CEO Robert Robbins is top pick for U of A presidency

Posted at 8:07 PM, Mar 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-08 00:25:39-05

The state Board of Regents on Tuesday selected the leader of the world's biggest medical center as its top pick to be the next president for the University of Arizona.

Dr. Robert Clayton Robbins has been president and chief executive officer of Texas Medical Center since 2012. A highly regarded cardiac surgeon, Robbins spent 20 years working for the Stanford University School of Medicine as professor and department chair in cardiothoracic surgery and founded the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute in 2005.

"Dr. Robbins has an impressive track record of leadership, research accomplishments and demonstrated success in managing the largest medical complex in the world," regents Chair Greg Patterson said in a statement. "In addition to the obvious benefits to UA's two medical schools, Dr. Robbins' championship of cross-institutional research initiatives demonstrates that he is well-positioned to guide UA from its strong existing foundation to continued success in the areas of interdisciplinary scholarship and student success."

Robbins was chosen as one of two finalists for the UA position last week along with Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan, who's the executive vice president and chief research and innovation officer of Arizona State University's Knowledge Enterprise Development.

His hiring is not yet final. The regents plan a special meeting March 13 to begin negotiations on Robbins' contract.

Robbins is scheduled to visit the Tucson campus on Wednesday for meetings with student leaders, faculty, deans, alumni and elected officials.

UA President Ann Weaver Hart is serving out the remainder of her contract that expires in June 2018. She became the university's 21st president in 2012. Last June, Hart announced that she would not seek a contract extension, but would remain at the helm until a replacement is named.