University City Science Center announced Friday afternoon that its president and CEO, Stephen Zarrilli, is resigning from his post to focus on his health after enduring a stroke last July.
Zarrilli took the position in October 2018 after serving as a member of the board since 2014. He had previously been CEO of Safeguard Scientifics until April 2018 when he stepped down following a tumultuous battle with investor groups who called for his resignation.
Zarrilli came to the Science Center as the organization announced a “major model shift” that would stray from office and lab space management to focus more on entrepreneurship-focused programs.
“I believe the Science Center is uniquely positioned to serve as an important catalyst for the continued development of science and technology commercialization opportunities both locally and nationally,” Zarrilli said at the time.
He will resume his spot on the board after stepping down from his CEO role, the Center said in a statement.
While Zarrilli’s been recovering, Senior VP for Real Estate Operations Curt Hess has served as interim president and CEO, and will stay in the post until a permanent replacement is hired.
“Although a difficult decision, I am deeply grateful to my family for their ongoing support,” Zarrilli said in a statement outlining his decision to step down. “It has been an enormous privilege to have led the Science Center during this important period of transformation and growth and I am proud to have worked with remarkable colleagues who are committed to our mission.”
Science Center Marketing Director Kristen Fitch said that the org hopes to bring on the new CEO as early as this summer and is considering internal and external applicants. Board Vice Chair Jane Hollingsworth will be leading the search in conjunction with organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry.
“The Board thanks Steve for his service and leadership,” said Mike DiPiano, chairman of the board of directors. “We understand and support his decision to step down to focus on his recovery and are grateful for his many accomplishments while leading the organization. We wish him and his family the very best.”
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