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Candace S. Johnson, Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s deputy director, has been named to serve as interim president and chief executive officer after current president and CEO Dr. Donald L. Trump retires on Dec. 31.

The appointment, effective Jan. 1, was announced Tuesday in a message to employees, students and volunteers from Michael L. Joseph, chairman of Roswell Park’s board of directors.

“Dr. Johnson will work with the executive committee of the board of directors, along with a key group of institutional and consultative experts, to maintain strategic momentum as well as the operational and financial integrity of the 100-plus-year-old organization,” Joseph.

“Also,” he added, “I will chair the Roswell Park president/chief executive officer search committee, made up of representatives from the Roswell Park board of directors and the Alliance Foundation Board, as well as Dr. Johnson and Dr. Kunle Odunsi, chair of the gynecologic oncology program at Roswell Park.

“This committee will work closely with the search firm Korn/Ferry International and will be instrumental in selecting the next organizational leader.”

Joseph announced the selection of Korn/Ferry on Monday. The search is expected to take six to 12 months. Johnson has said that she will not be a candidate for the top job.

“I can do more where I am,” she said.

Once the new CEO arrives, Johnson will take the title of cancer center director and will oversee clinical care and scientific research, reporting directly to the board.

Johnson joined Roswell Park in February 2002. She chairs the Pharmacology and Therapeutics Department, a group of 15 major research labs, and holds the Robert, Anne and Lew Wallace Chair in Translational Research. She also is a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University at Buffalo.

Previously, she was deputy director of basic research at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, and professor of pharmacology and medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She earned her doctoral degree in immunology from Ohio State University, Columbus, in 1977.

Trump and Johnson, internationally renowned investigators in vitamin D-based studies in cancer, collaborated on developing a major research program at Roswell Park.

Trump came to Roswell Park in January 2002, serving as senior vice president for clinical research, chairman of the department of medicine and co-principal investigator of the Cancer Center Support Grant, funded by the National Cancer Institute. He was named president and CEO on April 1, 2007.

email: danderson@buffnews.com