Jeff DeWit will leave NASA after less than two years as the agency's chief financial officer to return to his family in Arizona and work in the private sector. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

WASHINGTON — NASA Chief Financial Officer Jeff DeWit will resign from the agency this week to return to his family in Arizona and work in the private sector.

In a Feb. 11 internal memo, DeWit announced he was leaving the agency, with Feb. 13 his last day. He said he has been in discussions about leaving since December, but agreed to stay through the release of the fiscal year 2021 budget proposal on Feb. 10.

In the memo, he said a desire to return to his family, who remained in his home state of Arizona while he worked in Washington, led to his decision to resign. “Many of you know that it is been a sacrifice for my family as they are in Arizona, and I have only been commuting back about one weekend of every three on average,” he wrote. “During busy times in [the Office of the Chief Financial Officer] I have sometimes gone for over five weeks without seeing them.”

DeWit said he would “rejoin the private business world in Arizona” but did not specify what job he would take. He worked in the financial industry from the early 1990s until being elected state treasurer in Arizona in 2014.

He had no background in the space industry prior to being nominated in November 2017 for the CFO position, one of four at the agency that requires Senate confirmation. The Senate unanimously confirmed him in March 2018, a month before confirming current NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

DeWit didn’t mention his plans to resign during a Feb. 10 media teleconference about the 2021 budget proposal, where he expressed his optimism about the proposal’s prospects. “I think we have a lot of people who want to see this happen,” he said of the $25.2 billion request, a 12% increase over the agency’s fiscal year 2020 appropriation.

“These are exciting times to be at NASA,” he added. “There’s a great unifying effort about this mission, and I think we have a very good shot to get this budget through the Hill and go to the moon and go to Mars.”

Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...