The CDC will be needing a new leader. Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald resigned on Wednesday as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after some dicey financial conflicts came to light. The big one: Fitzgerald bought stock in a major tobacco company just a month after assuming her position at the CDC last year, according to a report in Politico on Tuesday that may have sealed Fitzgerald's fate. Details and developments:
- The details: Fitzgerald's financial manager bought stock in Japan Tobacco, one of the world's biggest tobacco companies, as well as in food and drug companies such as Merck, Bayer, Humana, and US Food Holding Co. (The full story is here.) The CDC has a stated mission to reduce smoking, and it oversees the food and drug fields.
- The perception: "You don't buy tobacco stocks when you are the head of the CDC," Richard Painter, who served as chief ethics lawyer for George W. Bush, told Politico. "It's ridiculous" and "tone deaf." Japan Tobacco sells various brands of cigarettes in the US, including Winston and Camel, notes New York.