October 25, 2016 – Space Foundation Chief Executive Officer Elliot Pulham has resigned his position, according to a brief statement issued by the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Admiral James O. Ellis, Jr., on October 24. Pulham’s resignation is effective immediately and the Foundation’s Chief Operating Officer, Shelli Brunswick, will take over his duties until a permanent replacement is found.
The statement gave no further details about his departure and said simply, “We want to thank Elliot for his many years of service to the Space Foundation, and wish him well as he pursues new opportunities. The Space Foundation team has made many positive strides in recent years; we are proud to be a respected advocate for all sectors of space. As a global leader, the Foundation is focused on growing its ability to educate and advocate on behalf of the space industry, and we look forward to finding the next person to propel that mission forward. We are committed to an open and competitive process to select the Foundation’s next leader, and are grateful for the continued support of the space community.”
Pulham was named CEO of the Space Foundation in 2001 and has led a premier team of space and education professionals providing services to educators and students, government officials, news media and the space industry around the world. As the foremost advocate for the space industry, the Space Foundation is often called upon to present unbiased, third-party information and opinions on space initiatives and policies.
Most recently, Pulham delivered a keynote address at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on October 13. In his remarks he said, “We have enjoyed twenty years of continuous growth at the Space Foundation, and during the last four years alone, we have put 100,000 teachers, students, youth group participants and members of the public through formal and informal STEM programs.”
Pulham is a recipient of the Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America – the profession’s highest honor. And in 2003, the Rotary National Awards for Space Achievement Foundation presented him with the Space Communicator Award, an honor he shares with such legendary communicators as CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite, CNN anchorman Miles O’Brien and astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson.
So it’s perhaps most surprising that Pulham has recently come under scrutiny for comments he made on his personal Facebook page. NASA Watch published a blog post on October 3 questioning the Space Foundation’s high internal expenditures – notably, Pulham’s first-class travel expenses and his high salary, which were listed on the Space Foundation’s tax return. The blog post linked to images of several of Pulham’s personal Facebook posts in which he appeared to boast about his first-class experiences. NASA Watch also called out Pulham for a vulgar Facebook post he made earlier this year about Hillary Clinton and her supporters.
The Space Foundation World Headquarters is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is the foremost advocate for all sectors of space, and is a global, nonprofit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs and major industry events, including the annual Space Symposium.