President Joe Biden is to nominate Robert Califf to head the US Food and Drug Administration, the Washington Post reports.
Califf was a cardiologist and researcher at Duke University before becoming FDA commissioner during the Obama Administration. After his tenure at FDA, he became an advisor to Verily and Google Health, the Post adds.
It notes that insiders consider Califf to be a safe choice for the position. "Rob is a relatively safe choice because he is known in Washington and is widely respected," Wayne Pines, a former FDA associate commissioner, tells the Associated Press. "He will have broad support from FDA stakeholders."
At the same time, the Post says others view his selection as a missed opportunity to shake up the agency and are wary of his ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
Former FDA commissioners, including Califf, had pressed President Biden to nominate a permanent commissioner, especially in light of the FDA's role in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. Janet Woodcock has been serving as the acting FDA commissioner since Stephen Hahn stepped down with the change in administrations.
If confirmed — which insiders tell both the Post and the AP is likely — Califf would be the first FDA commissioner since the 1940s to take up the role for a second time, according to the AP.