Brenda Fitzgerald, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, resigned Wednesday after coming under scrutiny for buying shares of a tobacco company while leading the agency.
Fitzgerald also owned stock in various tobacco companies, including Reynolds American, British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands, Philip Morris International and Altria Group, before taking her position, Politico reported Tuesday. The CDC is a national leader in the fight against tobacco.
“Dr. Fitzgerald owns certain complex financial interests that have imposed a broad recusal limiting her ability to complete all of her duties as the CDC director,” CDC spokesman Matt Floyd said in a statement. She “could not divest from them in a definitive time period.”
After assuming her role as the head of the CDC, Fitzgerald also purchased stock in various health care companies including Bayer and Humana, Politico reported. A Health and Human Services Department confirmed “potentially conflicting” stock purchases to Politico and told the outlet Fitzgerald had since sold them.