The head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday she will leave her post at the end of February.
"I have decided to return to my family and academia," Jane Lubchenco wrote to NOAA employees.
Lubchenco became well-known to the public when she played a prominent role in the government's response to the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Some scientists accused her agency of downplaying the magnitude of the spill.
No successor was immediately announced.