If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.


ACS News

Thanks For Great Chemistry!

by Madeleine Jacobs, ACS Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer
December 1, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 48

Credit: Peter Cutts Photography
Photo of American Chemical Society Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Madeleine Jacobs.
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography

In early 2015, I will retire from the American Chemical Society after 24 years—11 as executive director and chief executive officer and 13 at C&EN as a reporter, managing editor, and editor-in-chief.

My service to ACS has been the most rewarding part of my 45-year career because I’ve worked with ACS members like you. The incredible commitment and dedication you have to the American Chemical Society and the chemistry enterprise through your service in local sections and technical divisions, and on committees, the ACS Council, and the ACS Board of Directors, among other entities, make it possible for ACS to be the leading professional society in the world. I am grateful for your friendship and advice. I have been the humble beneficiary of both.

For the past decade, through a vibrant partnership with my executive leadership team and the ACS Board of Directors, ACS has accomplished the following:

consistently turned in a net contribution, ensuring financial sustainability;

instituted a process to develop our current vision, mission, core values, and strategic plan (and a robust strategic planning process) that has given us a detailed road map for the future;

created a new portfolio management process to ensure the strategic alignment of our society programs;

grown and enriched our membership, education, and public affairs offerings;

developed a constantly evolving Web and social media presence;

strengthened our fund-raising activities and brought in a major foundation—at $34 million, it is the largest single gift that ACS has ever received—that helps educate chemistry teachers;

ensured the sustainability of our information publishing services through the establishment of numerous high-quality interdisciplinary journals and SciFinder and the selection of outstanding presidents of both ACS Publications and Chemical Abstracts Service;

launched a major technology project that promises new opportunities;

implemented a robust global strategy to ensure our growth and relevance; and

established a comprehensive program to enhance professional development and employee engagement of our 2,000-person staff.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say more about my years at C&EN. I first worked for C&EN as a reporter from 1969–72. Later, during my time as managing editor (1993–95) and then as editor-in-chief (1995–2003), Rudy Baum and I developed a highly professional team of science journalists dedicated to accuracy and timeliness, established the online version of C&EN, launched an online jobs board, brought our relationships with advertisers to an exceptionally high level, and enhanced our interactions with industry and academic audiences alike.

My sincere thanks and gratitude go to all 2,000 members of the ACS staff in Washington, Columbus, and around the world, and to the members of my executive leadership and administrative teams. The members of my executive leadership team are Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Brian Bernstein, ACS Publications President Brian Crawford, Membership & Scientific Advancement Director Denise Creech, Chemical Abstracts Service President Manuel Guzman, Education Director Mary Kirchhoff, Secretary and General Counsel Flint Lewis, Human Resources Director Scott Oliphant, and Chief Information Officer John Sullivan. The members of my Administrative Team are Deloris Snoddy, Simanco Staley, and Marleen Weidner. I couldn’t have done anything without you. You’re the best!

I also want to thank all of the members of the ACS Board of Directors and, in particular, the ACS Board chairs with whom I have worked: Nina I. McClelland, James D. Burke, Judith L. Benham, Bonnie A. Charpentier, and William F. Carroll Jr. I have benefited from your guidance and wisdom.

Many people have asked me what I’m doing in the next chapter of my life. In early 2015, I will become president and chief executive officer of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents, an organization of presidents, presidents-elect, and recent past-presidents of 60 scientific societies and federations whose combined membership is about 1.4 million scientists and science educators. I will be giving back to my university through my service on the George Washington University Board of Trustees and its committees—the executive committee, the Committee on Academic Affairs (as a member and chair), the board of directors of the GW Museum & The Textile Museum, and the Committee on Corcoran Integration & Alignment.

In addition, I am on the advisory board of the Harpswell Foundation, which is devoted to developing women leaders in emerging nations. I also plan to serve ACS in a variety of capacities and stay very active, especially as honorary chair of the ACS Scholars 20th Anniversary Appeal Committee. I look forward to attending ACS national meetings. Finally, I look forward to spending more time with Joe, my wonderful and supportive husband of 42 years.

My passion since age 13 has been chemistry and I have lived the motto, “ACS—chemistry for life.” ACS has been my professional home since I was 21. I am confident that I am leaving ACS well positioned with a strong foundation for an even brighter future. Thank you for giving me the honor to be part of this wonderful vision and enterprise.



This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.