Energy Secretary Steven Chu is stepping down from the administration, completing a stormy tenure as the chief architect of President Barack Obama's green energy policies.
Chu's departure, widely expected for weeks, completes the exit of the president's first-term energy and environment policy team. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson have also announced their departures.
Chu, who won a Nobel Prize in physics, was easily confirmed as Energy Secretary four years ago but became a lightning rod for criticism, targeted by Republicans for his stewardship of the department's clean energy loan portfolio and for comments he once made about gasoline prices.
Chu, a former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, drew fire specifically for his handling of a $528 million federal loan to solar panel maker Solyndra, which later went bankrupt, laying off its 1,100 workers and leaving taxpayers to foot most of the bill for the loan.