WASHINGTON — Smithsonian Institution Secretary Wayne Clough will retire next year from leading the world’s largest museum and research complex, he announced Wednesday.
Clough said he will retire in October 2014, after more than six years in the post. He came to the Smithsonian in 2008 after serving as president of the Georgia Institute of Technology for 14 years.
Clough said he wanted to announce his retirement plans now so that an orderly transition can begin.
“When I became Secretary in 2008, I believed strongly that the Smithsonian had enormous untapped potential, especially in digital technology, to reach millions of people and serve as a resource for those who cannot visit Washington,” Clough said in a written statement, adding that much progress has been made to extend the Smithsonian’s digital outreach. Such initiatives “provide a momentum that will enable the Smithsonian to succeed in the future.”
Since his arrival, the Smithsonian has raised $893 million in private contributions, including a record $223 million last year, according to Smithsonian figures. Clough has also led several major building projects, including the beginning of construction for the National Museum of African American History and Culture and a major renovation of the shuttered Arts and Industries Building on the National Mall.
On Sept. 11, Clough notified Chief Justice John Roberts, the chancellor of the Smithsonian, of his intentions. In response, Roberts thanked Clough and said his leadership has earned public support for the museum complex, which relies on taxpayer funding for about 70 percent of its $1 billion annual budget.
“Your boundless energy and commitment have delivered a decade of accomplishments in half the time,” Roberts wrote to Clough, noting the Smithsonian’s new research partnerships, digital education initiatives and renovated buildings.
The Smithsonian Board of Regents will form a committee to conduct an international search for a new secretary. Regent John McCarter Jr., the former president of the Field Museum in Chicago, will chair the committee.