Phil ‘Bad Astronomy’ Plait announced today that he is stepping down from his role as president of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) in order to pursue a television opportunity. As of January 1, 2010, the new head of the JREF will be former professional magician and (current) skeptic D. J. Grothe (perhaps best known for his Point of Inquiry podcast).
This was a very difficult decision for me. But I’m leaving the Presidency so I can concentrate on some future TV projects I’ve been developing. This has been a dream of mine for more than a decade, and something I’ve worked on very hard, so it’s an opportunity I simply could not pass up. With that in mind, I discussed this with Randi and the other members of the JREF Board of Directors, and we all agreed it was for the best. Not to rationalize this too much, but if this does work out it means I’ll be able to promote skepticism, science, and critical thinking to a much larger audience. This will ultimately benefit the JREF itself, too.
I’m really happy D. J. accepted the role of President in my stead. He is a beloved member of the skeptical community. His podcast, Point of Inquiry, is among the best in the business. He is a thoughtful, intellectual, interesting, and warm person, and will be an outstanding example of leadership when he takes the JREF reins. With D. J. involved, the future of the JREF is stronger than ever.
The Bad Astronomer will remain an advisor to the JREF in an “informal capacity”. For more information, see this JREF press release.