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Personal Message

SLAC Today

Monday - March 12, 2007

(Photo - Jonathan Dorfan)

Personal Message

There is no easy way for me to say this—I will be stepping down this fall as Laboratory Director. When I accepted the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to head SLAC, I told then President Gerhard Casper that I would serve "eight to ten years." I believed then, as I still do, that change at the "top" is healthy for large organizations and that in these times of increasing management complexity and accountability, senior managers best serve their institutions by stepping aside after a decade of stewardship. This fall I will complete my eighth year as Director.

Sharing this news with you all makes today one of the most challenging in my tenure as Director. I would much prefer that this be a two-way conversation and accordingly I have scheduled four All Hands Meetings tomorrow in the Panofsky Auditorium (see below). I very much hope that I will have the opportunity to see you in one of those sessions.

  Why have I chosen to step down in this particular year? Foremost on
  my mind is the long-term health of SLAC! About one year from now,
  Stanford needs to be fully ready to submit its response to the anticipated
  DOE Request for Proposals for the contract competition to operate SLAC. As
  I said in my SLAC Today column of November 27, 2006, Competing DOE
  Laboratory Contracts, Stanford University's objective is clear—to retain
  long-term operation of SLAC so as to continue the legacy of scientific
  discovery and exceptional technical innovation that have characterized
  SLAC these past 45 years. While we at Stanford don't fear the competition,
  it is imperative that we submit a powerful and fully responsive proposal.
  The Director who leads the preparation of that proposal must be the same
  person who pledges to serve the first five years of the post-competition
  award. For me to undertake that responsibility requires that I serve well
  beyond the decade that I consider to be in the best long-term interest of
  the Laboratory. Ideally then, a new Director should be in place this fall.

  I have asked President Hennessy to establish a committee to seek a new
  Director for SLAC. As described in Stanford's press release of this morning,
  the President has asked Professor Persis Drell to head the Search
  Committee and she has graciously agreed to do so. The Committee will be
  established shortly and commence a world-wide search in broad
  consultation with the relevant stakeholders.

  During the remainder of this year, you can be assured of my continued full
  commitment to lead SLAC as vigorously as I have done in the past. Beyond
  that, I remain supremely confident that SLAC, under the continued
  stewardship of the DOE-Stanford partnership that has been so successful,
  will remain an enormously exciting, supportive and rewarding work
  environment, one that will take the Laboratory to yet greater scientific
  achievements. When it does come time for me to pass on the mantle, I
  have no intention of retiring but will stay on in this Laboratory and
  University that I cherish so deeply.


  Schedule for the All Hands on Tuesday March 13, 2007. Please join me for
  refreshments at the end of each session.

  7:00–7:45 a.m.
  Owl shift and any others who may have schedule difficulties in the other
  three sessions

  9:00–9:45 a.m.
  Last names starting A through G

  11:00–11:45 a.m.
  Last names starting H through P

  3:00–3:45 p.m.
  Last names starting Q through Z and swing shift

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