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Leader interview: Chris McEntee steers change in 3rd CEO job

Christine McEnteeVeteran leader helps science group make painful choices, speak out on public policy.

Dec. 4, 2015

The American Geophysical Union was ready for “something different” when it hired Christine McEntee, a non-scientist, as its executive director five years ago.

Since then McEntee has been guiding AGU’s efforts to stay relevant for the future, both as an organization and as a voice for addressing real-world problems—including global warming—through the earth and space sciences.

And the change was not without pain. AGU’s decision to outsource the production side of its journals and books led to letting go more than a third of the organization’s employees. The move caused a lot of stress, anger and controversy, McEntee said.

“We just kept going back to our reasons and our why and our rationale,” she said. “I think now everybody thinks it’s one of the best things the organization ever did.”