Tech

Alphabet taps former FDA commissioner to oversee health strategy and policy

Key Points
  • Alphabet has hired former U.S. Food and Drug commissioner Robert M. Califf, the company confirmed to CNBC.
  • Califf will lead strategy and policy for Alphabet's health subsidiaries, according to Duke University.
  • Califf's appointment comes as the company shakes up its health subsidiaries.
Dr. Robert Califf
Getty Images

Alphabet has tapped former U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert M. Califf to lead the company's health strategy and policy.

Starting in November, Califf will become the full-time head of strategy and policy for its Verily Life Sciences and Google Health divisions, according to a blog post by Duke University Monday. Alphabet confirmed to CNBC that Califf will be joining the company full-time but declined to comment on specific duties. 

The new hire comes one year after the company hired David Feinberg to oversee Google Health. He has recently been consolidating teams across the company including its hardware division and artificial intelligence division DeepMind, which announced its biggest breakthrough in health last month. Verily, Alphabet's life sciences company, has been functioning relatively independently of Google Health, but it does license technology from Google. Califf is the first known hire whose duties span both Google and Verily.

The company first tapped Califf to be an advisor for Verily Life Sciences in 2017, where he split responsibilities between it and Duke University. He helped create the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), which became the nation's largest academic clinical research organization under his leadership, according to Monday's blog post. Prior to Duke, Califf served as FDA Commissioner under the Obama administration.

Califf has also become an influential voice among discussions about health efforts between public and private sectors. Last week, on a panel at the annual Rock Health Summit, Califf noted that tech companies can play a huge role in improving health care information exchange.

Califf will remain on faculty at Duke University as an adjunct professor in the Duke University School of Medicine, according to Duke's blog post.

--CNBC's Christina Farr contributed to this report.

WATCH NOW: DeepMind's CEO on Machine Learning

VIDEO2:5302:53
DeepMind's CEO on machine learning