Koonin's departure, announced in an 8 November memo from Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, busts up something of a scientific dream team within the upper echelons of DOE. Its other members are Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, and William Brinkman, the director of DOE's Office of Science, who was executive director of physics research at the storied Bell Labs. However, observers say they're not surprised to see Koonin go, as his position gave him little power.
"Steve's been looking around for awhile—it hasn't been a secret," says Michael Lubell, a lobbyist with the American Physical Society (APS) in Washington, D.C. "He has not been terribly happy at DOE for some time."
You may read the possibler reasons for his departure in the article. At first I thought this was one of the fallout from the Solyndra debacle. Luckily, it wasn't!