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February 20, 2007 at 1:12 PM

Gates Foundation gets new CFO

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said today it has hired investment banker Alexander S. Friedman as its chief financial officer.

Friedman is a mergers and acquisitions specialist at international investment bank Lazard (NYSE: LAZ).

Friedman is charged with overseeing the world’s largest foundation’s finance and accounting, financial and strategic planning, facilities and real estate, among other activities. At a time when the foundation has come under scrutiny for its investments, he’ll have his hands full.

That is, if he gets involved in the funding side at all. Last year the foundation separated its operations and grant programs money from its endowment, which is handled by outside investment managers. Its endowment is worth more than $30 billion, with a gift of $30 billion more from Warren Buffett.

Friedman also has experience in biotechnology, having led corporate development at Medarex. And he is another Clinton Administration veteran to join the Gates Foundation. Like Sylvia Mathews, president of Global Development at the foundation, Friedman served under President Clinton. He was a White House Fellow and Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Special Projects. He is on the board of the New York-based NetAid Foundation, an initiative of Mercy Corps.

He will begin working on March 19, reporting to Chief Operating Officer Cheryl Scott.

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