(HealthDay News) — Eric Lander, M.D., director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), has resigned after the findings of an internal investigation that he violated workplace policies became public.
In a statement issued Monday evening, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “The President accepted Dr. Eric Lander’s resignation letter this evening with gratitude for his work at OSTP on the pandemic, the Cancer Moonshot, climate change, and other key priorities. He knows that Dr. Lander will continue to make important contributions to the scientific community in the years ahead.”
Biden did not ask for Lander’s resignation, a person familiar with the situation told CNN. In his resignation letter to President Joe Biden on Monday, Lander acknowledged that he “crossed the line at times into being disrespectful and demeaning, to both men and women,” CNN reported. There was no credible evidence of gender-based discrimination, according to the spokesperson. Lander said his resignation is effective “no later than February 18 in order to permit an orderly transfer.”
The investigation late last year was triggered by a complaint filed under the Executive Office of the President’s Safe and Respectful Workplace Policy, and it revealed “credible evidence” of violations of the policy. “Corrective action was taken consistent with those findings,” a spokesperson for OSTP told CNN.
In an email sent to OSTP staff on Friday evening, Lander said, “It’s my responsibility to set a respectful tone for our community. It’s clear that I have not lived up to this responsibility. I have spoken to colleagues within OSTP in a disrespectful or demeaning way. This is not only wrong, but also inconsistent with our Safe and Respectful Workplace Policy. It is never acceptable for me to speak that way.”
“I am deeply sorry for my conduct,” Lander continued. “I especially want to apologize to those of you who I treated poorly, or were present at the time. I also realize that my conduct reflects poorly on this administration, and interferes with our work. I deeply regret that.”