Washington, DC— Carnegie Observatories Director John Mulchaey and Carnegie Embryology Director Yixian Zheng jointly will serve in the Office of the President on an interim basis starting January 1, 2018. Their selection as interim co-presidents was a unanimous decision of the Carnegie Board of Trustees.

During this period, Mulchaey and Zheng will continue in their directorship roles at their respective departments.

“We are confident that Drs. Mulchaey and Zheng—both longstanding members of the Carnegie family—will provide steady, comprehensive leadership to the institution as an active search for the next president continues,” said Board Co-chairs Suzanne Nora Johnson and Stephen Fodor. “John and Yixian represent the array of scientific disciplines at Carnegie.”

“John and I are honored to contribute by serving together in the Office of the President,” said Zheng. “This institution has shaped both of our careers and we would do anything to help promote and maintain Carnegie’s proud scientific legacy.”

“For more than two decades, Carnegie has allowed me to grow professionally, not only in terms of my own scientific research, but also by letting me extend my work into the arenas of outreach, public programming, and development,” Mulchaey said. “So, naturally, I am eager to give back to the institution in any way that I can, including serving with Yixian in this role.”

Mulchaey was named Observatories director in 2015 after serving in the position on an interim basis. He received his B.S. in astrophysics from University of California Berkeley and his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. He was a graduate student fellow at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore and a Carnegie postdoctoral fellow before joining the staff.

 Zheng was selected as director of the Department of Embryology earlier this year after serving on an interim basis. She received a B.S. in Biology from Sichuan University, Sichuan, China, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics at The Ohio State University. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California San Francisco and joined Carnegie as a staff member in 1996. Between 2000 and 2012 she was also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

Mulchaey and Zheng will serve as interim co-presidents until a new president is hired.   Carnegie has retained Spencer Stuart, a global executive search firm, to help identify and successfully recruit its next leader.