PLOS Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Marincola is stepping down effective December 31, 2016, the open-access publisher announced on Twitter yesterday (October 31). She has accepted a position at an organization in Nairobi, Kenya, PLOS spokesperson David Knutson told The Scientist. “PLOS is going to miss her and all the contributions she gave to PLOS both as a board member and a CEO, and we wish her well,” he said.
The publisher announced Marincola’s upcoming departure following a leak of the information in an anonymous email sent to recipients including journalist Richard Poynder. “We did some investigating yesterday,” said Knutson. “We found that there was a forged message from an IP address in Amsterdam.”
PLOS found that the message was sent using an anonymous email tool hosted on a website registered in the Czech Republic. “Apparently people can use this tool and send out anonymous messages, and that’s what someone did,” Knutson added. “It’s a mystery to us. We don’t know who sent it, to whom it went, or why.”
All PLOS staff learned Marincola would be leaving at the end of the year in an October 24 meeting, Knutson said, adding that the PLOS Board of Directors is now appointing a search committee to recruit a new CEO.
Correction (November 1): This article has been updated to note that PLOS staff learned of Marincola’s upcoming departure in a meeting, not a memo, as was written. The Scientist regrets the error.
Update (December 21): Marincola told The Scientist she has accepted a position as senior advisor to the African Academy of Sciences, where she will lead science communication and advocacy efforts. Last month (November 21), Knutson told Poynder that PLOS Chief Financial Officer Richard Hewitt would serve as interim CEO, effective January 1, 2017.