April 29, 2011
Today the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy announced that Doug Simons, Director of the Gemini Observatory, will step down at the end of his term on May 18, 2011. Appointed for a five year term in 2006, Dr. Simons has directed the Gemini Observatory through an extremely challenging period in which the nature of the Gemini partnership changed radically with the withdrawal of the United Kingdom.
As a result, the Gemini Observatory, under Simons’ leadership, mapped out a transition plan that will allow Gemini to continue to provide the partners with full access to an exciting suite of observing capabilities over the next five years. Dr. William Smith, President of AURA, said "Doug leaves behind a lasting legacy for Gemini that will allow us to respond to the many challenges we will face in the future
Dr. Simons will take on new tasks within the Gemini Observatory that include creating a more active synergy among the Mauna Kea observatories.
In making this announcement AURA also appointed Dr. Fredric Chaffee as Interim Director for a period of one year beginning May 18th. Dr. Chaffee, who previously directed the MMT and Keck Observatories, brings a wealth of experience in management and science. He has also chaired AURA’s oversight committee for Gemini over the past five years.
AURA will begin a formal search for a new Gemini Director immediately.
Dr. Caty Pilachowski, Chair of the AURA Board, said "Doug has been a tremendous asset for AURA and I look forward to his continued contributions in Gemini. I look forward to the Interim Directorship of Fred Chaffee who will lead the Observatory through a critical period over the next year