Tom Hicks is accelerating his departure from buyout firm Hicks, Muse,Tate & Furst by three months. In March, Hicks announced he would retire as chairman of the Dallas-based buyouts firm at the end of March 2005, at which point he would turn his full attention to his sports franchises and real estate development company, Southwest Sports Realty. Last week, however, Hicks said he would exit the firm New Year?s Day instead. Hicks, 58, told the Dallas Morning News he?s eager to start a ?fresh focus? overseeing his sports teams and sports assets, which include the Texas Rangers.Garrett Gruener and Edward Penhoet, directors with Alta Partners, have been elected co-chairs of the Chabot Space & Science Center, an Oakland, Calif.-based organization that provides Bay Area schools with astronomy and science education programs.Sarah Mattson-Fishman has joined San Francisco-based VC firm Partech International as a venture partner in Israel. She was a senior research assistant at RBC Capital Markets.Richard Jandrain has joined Fort Washington Investment Advisors as a managing director of growth equity, in the firm?s new Columbus, Ohio office. He previously served as chief equity strategist with Banc One Investment Advisors Corp. In other Fort Washington news, the firm?s Columbus office also will welcome: Daniel Kapusta as a senior portfolio manager; David Robinson as a senior portfolio manager; and Bihag Patel as a portfolio manager.Paul Helmick has been named acting executive director of the West Virginia Venture Connection, which was formed four months ago. Helmick currently serves as CEO of Premier Strategies LLC, and is a serial entrepreneur.Steven Ratoff has joined ProQuest Investments as a venture partner. He most recently served as chairman and interim CEO of Cima Labs Inc. and, before that, had been senior vice president and CFO of the pharmaceutical group at Bristol-Myers Squibb.