The US-based Association of Clinical Research Organizations (ACRO) has appointed Dr Derek Winstanly, executive vice president of strategic business partnerships at Quintiles Transnational, as its chair for 2009.

William Sharbaugh, chief operating officer at PPD, was named ACRO chair-elect. The appointments were made at the association’s annual meeting last month.

According to Dr Winstanly, now is a “crucial period of development” for contract research organisations (CROs). “The long-term future for the CRO industry remains bright and we look forward to working with our clients, regulators and legislators globally to bring about a more efficient drug development paradigm while maintaining the highest standards of safety,” he added.

ACRO also announced that ICON, the international CRO based in Dublin, Ireland, had joined the professional organisation as an associate member.