Biotech center president stepping down
DURHAM -- Norris Tolson, president and CEO of the N.C. Biotechnology Center, announced Wednesday that he will leave that post, effective June 30.
The center's board of directors will begin a search for Tolson’s successor, according to a news release.
“North Carolina is earning more and more recognition as a best practice for development of the life-science sector,” said John Atkins, chairman of the NCBiotech Board of Directors and chairman and CEO of O’Brien/Atkins Associates in the Research Triangle Park. "That is thanks to the vision of Norris Tolson."
Tolson took the role in July 2007. According to the release, his leadership emphasized statewide growth of the life science industry, investment in North Carolina’s life-science companies, and faster creation of biotech’s high-paying jobs.
He created an economic development division at the center, expanded loan programs for small companies and added support programs to meet changing industry needs. In 2009, he launched the Ag Biotech Initiative, which pairs the state’s largest economic engine with the tools of biotechnology.
The biotech sector is estimated to employ 60,000 people at more than 600 locations statewide.
Before working at the center, he was an executive with E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. He retired from DuPont in 1993 and returned to North Carolina. He served in the state legislature from 1994-1997 and then in three cabinet positions. Prior to leading the center, he served on the organization’s board and the executive committee.