Michael Armstrong, the former chairman of AT&T and Comcast Corp. Monday was elected chairman of the board for Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Armstrong, 66, will head a board that oversees a $3 billion clinical and medical research enterprise that includes the university's medical school and its health system -- Johns Hopkins Hospital, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Howard County General Hospital and Johns Hopkins Singapore. Armstrong's appointment is effective July 1. Armstrong's relationship with Johns Hopkins began with an interest in stem cell research, which led him to endow a professorship at Johns Hopkins University.
He said stem cell research will be one of his priorities. "I believe strongly that stem cell research is both acceptable and necessary," Armstrong said. "It's acceptable because today we have an in vitro embryonic stem cell supply that we are discarding and destroying. It's necessary because embryonic stem cells are such a critical source of differentiation, and a tool to advance understanding."
Armstrong stepped down as Comcast chairman last May amid criticism that he had driven what was once the country's long-distance telephone monopoly into crushing debt to get into the cable business with the purchase of Tele-Communications Inc. and other properties.
Because of the debt and sinking fortunes in AT&T's core long-distance business, the cable and broadband division was sold to Comcast. Armstrong joined Comcast in the deal, albeit temporarily.