THE British Heart Foundation (BHF) has announced that its distinguished Medical Director, Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, has indicated his intention to step down from his role in the year ahead.
Professor Samani has led the BHF’s research and medical strategy since 2016, which has seen the charity build on its position as the UK’s leading funder of non-commercial cardiovascular research.
During his tenure, Professor Samani has led the charity to launch cutting-edge research initiatives including the BHF Data Science Centre and the charity’s £30m global research competition, the Big Beat Challenge.
Furthermore, Professor Samani has ensured the BHF has continued to invest in building the UK’s cardiovascular research base. This includes by supporting the development of research capacity through its Research Excellence and Accelerator Awards, extending the BHF’s funding for early career scientists and clinicians, championing national and international research partnerships, and tirelessly leading the charity’s efforts to protect its research programmes through the pandemic.
Professor Samani is expected to step down sometime after September this year, to allow time for the charity to appoint new leadership and manage a smooth transition.
Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, said:
“As British Heart Foundation’s Medical Director for seven years, Nilesh has made an immense contribution to UK cardiovascular research. His vision has led to the BHF being bolder than ever in investing in pioneering research to save and improve lives, and his leadership through the pandemic both protected vital research and enhanced knowledge of cardiovascular risk when it was needed most.
“I want to thank Nilesh personally for his leadership and tremendous contributions to the BHF, the wider cardiovascular community and to research. I know he will always be part of our BHF family.”
Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said:
“It’s been one of the greatest privileges of my life to lead the British Heart Foundation’s research strategy as Medical Director. Over the last seven years, I’ve had the joy of seeing the charity fund research at the very forefront of global cardiovascular science and make discoveries that are changing lives worldwide.
“None of this would be possible without the BHF’s dedicated colleagues, volunteers, researchers, and supporters, all of whom I thank for their incredible support. I will continue to work with full energy and ambition until stepping down at an appropriate point in the next year.”
Following his departure, Professor Samani will continue in his roles as Professor of Cardiology at the University of Leicester and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist at the University Hospitals of Leicester.
Professor Samani’s contribution to cardiovascular medicine has been widely recognised, including through his recent award of the prestigious European Society of Cardiology Gold Medal. He was also knighted for his services to medicine and medical research in 2015.
The BHF will shortly begin its extensive search for the future leadership of its world-class research and health activities.