Deputy Secretary Poneman’s departure

poneman1Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Poneman plans to leave DOE this fall, according to the announcement made earlier this week by Secretary Ernest Moniz. There have been reports of his impending departure for the past year, but now it’s real and the speculation will turn to where Poneman will land next and who will ultimately replace him at the Department of Energy. POLITICO Pro had a report that Poneman would head to Harvard initially and later become head of the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Here the text of Moniz’ email message to employees about Poneman:

“Dan Poneman is a great friend, colleague and public servant.  When I was confirmed as Secretary of Energy, I asked Dan to stay on as Deputy Secretary for at least a year while I got up and running as Secretary and took on the many challenges and opportunities facing the Department.  Dan was very gracious in making the commitment to be part of our leadership team.  Having now passed that year milestone, Dan let me know he intends to step down this fall so that he and his family can move on to their next adventure.  He has already completed an unprecedented five years as Deputy Secretary and Acting Secretary, leaving his mark on many of this department’s signature efforts.  His schedule leaves ample time for the President to nominate and for the Congress to confirm Dan’s successor.

“It has been my pleasure to work with Dan in many settings over a couple of decades – from the Clinton White House, to publishing together on nuclear energy and nonproliferation, now as Secretary and Deputy Secretary.  He’s a man of integrity, intellect, and profound sense of duty to our country.  And we’ve been having a lot of fun too, for quite a long time, no matter the challenge.

“Dan has cultivated important relationships over the course of his career – with the NSC, in private legal practice, with the Scowcroft Group and with DOE.  He’s a ‘people person’ and this quality has been a tremendous asset for the Department, especially in developing partnerships internationally.  He has also been instrumental in the Department’s response to crises from negotiations with Iran in 2009, to Fukushima, to Hurricane Sandy, and in developing our emergency response capability.  We worked closely over the last year and made significant progress on departmental reorganization and on the energy and nuclear security challenges that are central to President Obama’s agenda.

“So I thank Dan for his first five years of service, with confidence that in the coming months he will continue to contribute to the Department’s important work at the high standard that he has led us to expect.   I know he will apply the same energy and commitment that he brings to all that he does.  He just completed a half-Ironman Triathlon in an amazingly short time, so I’m sure that Dan will ‘run through the tape’ as he completes his marathon tenure as Deputy Secretary.”

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About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.