Scripps’s President Steps Down

Following widespread disapproval among faculty members, Scripps’s Michael Marletta resigns his post.

Jul 23, 2014
Kerry Grens

WIKIMEDIA, ELIFE SCIENCES PUBLICATIONS LTD.Talks between the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and the University of Southern California (USC) about a possible merger fizzled out earlier this month, but the damage was done. Michael Marletta, Scripps’s president has resigned after faculty members across the organization voiced their opposition to a partnership with USC and their lack of confidence in his leadership.

“I think we are more optimistic than we have been in many years, because we feel like we have some control over our own fate,” Scripps biologist Jeanne Loring told Nature News.

In a brief statement, Richard Gephardt, chair of TSRI’s Board of Trustees said “the Board is working with Dr. Marletta on a possible transition plan. . . . Any such transition will engage all key constituencies in a dialogue about the future direction of this storied institution.”

On top of the USC kerfuffle, Marletta was also dealing with a $21 million deficit this year. Marletta’s tenure as president began in January 2012.

Update (August 11): TSRI’s Boart of Trustees today announced its appointment of James Paulson as interim president and CEO. Paulson, chair of the department of cell and molecular biology, will be working with the board and a search committee to find new leadership for the institute, TSRI said in a statement.