Press Release

Consumer Watchdog Says Genetech’s Levinson Correct To Resign From Google Board

CONTACT: 310-392-0522 ext. 317

Mon, Oct 12, 2009 at 12:12 pm

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SANTA MONICA, CA — Arthur D. Levinson, a member of both Google and Apple’s boards, acted correctly in resigning from Google’s board, Consumer Watchdog said today.

“We’re pleased that Arthur Levinson finally realized that serving on both Google’s and Apple’s boards was untenable,” said John M. Simpson, consumer advocate with Consumer Watchdog. “It took too long, but he finally did the right thing.”

The nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy group had called for the former Genentech chief executive to resign from one of the boards in August, when Google Chairman Eric Schmidt stepped down from the Apple board. The Federal Trade Commission had been investigating whether Apple and Google had violated antitrust laws by sharing two directors.

Levinson’s company, Genentech, has other ties to Google. It is an investor, with Google, in the direct-to-consumer genetic testing company, 23andMe, run by Anne Wojcicki.  She is the wife of Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder.

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Consumer Watchdog, formerly the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization with offices in Washington, DC and Santa Monica, CA.

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This post was written by:

John M. Simpson

- who has written 361 posts on Inside Google.

John M. Simpson is a leading voice on technological privacy and stem cell research issues. His investigations this year of Google’s online privacy practices and book publishing agreements triggered intense media scrutiny and federal interest in the online giant’s business practices. His critique of patents on human embryonic stem cells has been key to expanding the ability of American scientists to conduct stem cell research. He has ensured that California’s taxpayer-funded stem cell research will lead to broadly accessible and affordable medicine and not just government-subsidized profiteering. Prior to joining Consumer Watchdog in 2005, he was executive editor of Tribune Media Services International, a syndication company. Before that, he was deputy editor of USA Today and editor of its international edition. Simpson taught journalism a Dublin City University in Ireland, and consulted for The Irish Times and The Gleaner in Jamaica. He served as president of the World Editors Forum. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Harpur College of SUNY Binghamton and was a Gannett Fellow at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii. He has an M.A. in Communication Management from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.

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