Harvard Provost Dr. Alan Garber Faces Scrutiny Over Millions Earned From Pharmaceutical Boards

Harvard University’s Provost and Interim President, Dr. Alan Garber, is under scrutiny for reportedly earning millions from his positions on the boards of pharmaceutical companies while serving at the prestigious institution. According to reports, Garber amassed over $2.7 million from his board seats at Exelixis, Inc. and Vertex Pharmaceuticals since taking on the role of Harvard provost in 2011. The compensation, confirmed by both companies, did not involve additional duties beyond his board memberships.

Financial Gains and Board Memberships

Garber, who has been on Exelixis’ board since 2005, received $2.3 million from the company, with a significant portion earned after assuming the position of Harvard provost. From 2017-18, he earned approximately $1.2 million from Vertex in cash and stock options. Both pharmaceutical firms acknowledged Garber’s financial gains without additional responsibilities, emphasizing his expertise in health care policy and advisory roles.*

Current Board Positions and Company Profiles

Despite the financial controversy, Garber continues to hold positions on the boards of Exelixis and Vertex. Vertex, with a market capitalization of around $105 billion, focuses on developing treatments for serious diseases like Cystic Fibrosis. Exelixis, with a market capitalization of approximately $7 billion, specializes in developing next-generation cancer treatments.*

Garber’s Roles at Harvard and Interim Presidency

As Harvard’s Provost, Garber oversees academics, faculty, research, international affairs, and learning advances. An economist and physician with multiple professorships across Harvard’s academic spectrum, Garber’s research concentrates on improving healthcare delivery, particularly for the elderly in resource-constrained situations. In light of former Harvard President Claudine Gay’s resignation amid plagiarism accusations, Garber has assumed the role of Interim President.*

Harvard’s Response and Further Inquiries

Harvard, in its statement addressing Gay’s resignation, expressed gratitude for Garber’s service as Provost and announced his interim presidency. The university, however, has not responded to inquiries seeking additional comments on the financial disclosures and potential implications for its leadership.*

Ongoing Controversy at Harvard

The scrutiny of Garber’s financial ties to pharmaceutical boards adds to the ongoing controversy surrounding Harvard’s leadership. Former President Claudine Gay resigned amid plagiarism accusations, attributing her departure to “racial animus” without issuing an apology for alleged plagiarism during her academic career. As Garber assumes the interim presidency, questions linger about the financial relationships of university leaders with external entities and potential conflicts of interest.*

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