ExplorOcean names new chief executive

Newport Beach nonprofit ExplorOcean announced Monday that its former board chairman will take over as the interactive museum’s chief executive.

Tom Pollack, a Dana Point resident, will assume the role immediately. He will continue to serve as director of the nonprofit’s fundraising campaign.

Pollock replaces outgoing CEO Rita Stenlund, who resigned “a couple of weeks ago,” said board Chairman Timothy C. Collins.

He declined to elaborate on the circumstances of her departure. In 2008, Stenlund was hired as vice president of development and was promoted to president within the last year, he said.

Stenlund could not be reached by deadline Tuesday.

“Tom Pollack’s prior experience as [board chairman] in 2010-2011, and his recent successful assignment to launch our capital campaign, prepares him well to continue our rebranding and pursuit of growth opportunities,” Collins said in a prepared statement.

ExplorOcean, a marine educational center next to the Balboa Fun Zone, is the result of an extensive rebranding campaign by the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum in recent years.

Pollack served as board chairman for less than a year before Collins was appointed to the position in June, according to reports at the time.

The move came as part of a spate of leadership changes Collins said aim to make operations “more efficient.”

“We created some confusion in the community and some feedback told us we could do a better job, so that’s what we’re doing,” he said, adding that there had been some redundancies in fundraising efforts.

Rochelle McReynolds was promoted from campaign officer to chief development officer, according to the release, while organization controller David Lugo was named chief operating officer.

Wendy Marshall, who served as director of education and public programs was promoted to vice president, Collins said.

Pollack said in a statement that he is “delighted” to head the organization when its leadership and business plans are “stronger than ever.”

“Our unique ocean literacy educational programs will inspire children to explore the ocean environment using science, technology, math and engineering skills,” he said.

Twitter: @jillcowan