Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, C.D.C. Director, Resigns Over Tobacco and Other Investments

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention resigned on Wednesday, in the middle of the nation’s worst flu epidemic in nearly a decade, over financial investments that had posed potential conflicts of interest.

In a statement, Alex Azar, the newly appointed secretary of Health and Human Services, announced the resignation of the director, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, citing her “complex financial interests that have imposed a broad recusal limiting her ability to complete all her duties as the C.D.C. director.”

It continued: “Due to the nature of these financial interests, Dr. Fitzgerald could not divest from them in a definitive time period. After advising Secretary Azar of both the status of the financial interests and the scope of her recusal, Dr. Fitzgerald tendered, and the Secretary accepted, her resignation. The Secretary thanks Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald for her service and wishes her the best in all her endeavors.”

Politico reported on Tuesday that Dr. Fitzgerald had traded in tobacco stocks after taking the position at the public health agency. Her financial investments and potential conflicts of interest have been a source of concern by some Congressional officials and have impeded her ability to testify in some cases, the reports said.