WHOI President and Director to Step Down Next Year

“Photo by Daniel Hentz, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution”

WOODS HOLE – Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution President and Director Mark Abbott plans to step down at the end of 2020.

Abbot announced his intentions to the WHOI community at a town hall meeting recently, noting that the timing is right and provides ample time for an open, global search for a new director.

“I am committed to working with the board of trustees and my leadership team to achieve a smooth transition,” said Abbott.

“I believe the Institution is in a great place. Over the last four years, we have accomplished many important goals together, such as the implementation of the strategic facilities assessment that will lead to new buildings on the Quissett campus and key new waterfront facilities.”

Abbott added that WHOI still has much to do and noted that the recent “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report” will require new science and technology to tackle problems confronting the ocean.

“I am incredibly grateful to Mark for his leadership,” said Board Chair David Scully.

“He has stabilized the institution and reinvigorated the scientific staff, hiring is robust, retention rates and morale are high, and there is important momentum with big ideas like the Ocean Twilight Zone and an expanding relationship with Navy.”

Scully indicated that the board is committed to an inclusive and transparent process as WHOI aims high in its search for the next director who can be a voice for WHOI and the ocean at this critical time.

Abbott is the tenth director in WHOI’s 89-year history and has served in the leadership role since October 1st, 2015.

He joined WHOI from Oregon State University where he served as dean and professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.

Over a career spanning 35 years, Abbott has served on numerous professional committees for federal science funding agencies, scientific societies, and laboratories, and has advised the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation on ocean information infrastructure.

About Luke Leitner

Luke Leitner grew up in Watertown Massachusetts and now lives in West Yarmouth on the Cape. He has been a part of the news team in the CapeCod.com News Center since the spring of 2019. He studied business communications at Western New England University.

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