IDRI CEO Stewart Parker Steps Down, Erik Iverson Steps Up

Seattle-based IDRI just reflected a bit as it celebrated its 20th anniversary, and now it is getting a new business leader to take it ahead.

The nonprofit global health research center said today that CEO H. Stewart Parker is stepping down from that full-time day-to-day leadership role on Jan. 1 to become a senior advisor. Parker, 58, will keep her seat on the IDRI board of directors. IDRI said in a statement that her mission all along was to carry out a three-year development plan.

IDRI’s new leader on the business side is Erik Iverson, 45. His new title will be president of business and operations. Iverson joined IDRI in 2011 as vice president of business development and external relations after a 7-year run in legal and administrative roles at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—IDRI’s single most important benefactor. Founder, president, and chief scientific officer Steve Reed, 63, will continue to run IDRI’s scientific programs and work closely with Iverson.

IDRI does a variety of global health-related R&D projects on vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics. It is probably best known as a developer of vaccine adjuvants—compounds that boost the effectiveness and potency of vaccines. The organization works to fight tuberculosis, leprosy, leishmaniasis, pandemic flu, and malaria. Unlike many nonprofit research centers, it has a strong bent toward applications, and even has its own small-scale manufacturing capabilities to help move its inventions further down the road to where industrial partners can bring their resources to bear.

Erik Iverson

Erik Iverson

Parker, a well-known biotech executive from her time at Targeted Genetics and Immunex, oversaw a period of continued growth at IDRI over the last three years. The staff grew from about 94 to 125, and the operation moved from its old building on First Hill to much nicer digs at 1616 Eastlake Avenue East.

“In Stewart’s new role, she’ll continue work on raising both visibility and funds for IDRI (which just really got under way in 2013),” says Lee Schoentrup, an IDRI spokeswoman, in an e-mail. “While she’s built the foundation for that work, as you know, that’s a long-term goal that takes a great deal of time and concerted effort before we reap benefits, so that’s what remains to be done in her new role.”

Fundraising, like at any nonprofit, will be a paramount issue for IDRI’s new leader. IDRI reported that it had $23 million in revenue while running up $24.4 million in expenses in 2012, according to its annual tax filing with the IRS. The operation had $37.4 million in net assets at the end of that year, according to its Form 990 filing with the IRS. That was the forth straight year that IDRI ran an operating deficit, according to IRS records. IDRI’s net assets declined in those years from $52 million at the end of 2009 to $37.4 million at the end of 2012, although its annual operating losses have been getting smaller each year. [Updated with 2012 IRS records.]

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