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2024 Leadership Changes to Include NASA Stennis Director’s Retirement

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NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced Monday that after more than 30 years of service, the agency’s Stennis Space Center Director Richard Gilbrech will retire on Saturday, Jan. 13.

Stennis Deputy Director John Bailey will serve as acting center director after Gilbrech’s departure, and a permanent successor will be identified following a search and competition.

Nelson also announced Chief of Staff Susie Perez Quinn will transition to a senior advisor role at the end of the year, and Bale Dalton will succeed her beginning Monday, Jan. 1.

“Please join me in welcoming new leadership across NASA, who will continue leading our agency to unparalleled success,” said Nelson. “I’m thankful for Rick’s, Susie’s, and Bale’s leadership and wish Rick all the best in his new adventure.”

Gilbrech has served as center director at Stennis for more than a decade and in leadership and engineering roles at NASA since 1991. He has led teams at Stennis in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, and NASA Headquarters in Washington, focusing on propulsion test technology, the space shuttle, and the X-33 in various roles, including as associate administrator for NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate and deputy center director at both Stennis and Langley.

Most recently, Gilbrech has been instrumental in the growth of commercial partnerships at Stennis, leveraging the center’s unique capabilities and expertise as America’s largest rocket propulsion test site.

Quinn has served as chief of staff since 2021, working with Nelson and senior staff to shape the strategic direction of the agency, while overseeing and articulating various policies and programs, with a focus climate change.

In addition to his experience at NASA as deputy chief of staff, Dalton is a captain in the U.S. Navy Reserves. He received his bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Naval Academy, Master of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, and Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School.

“With new transitions and the end of the calendar year approaching, it’s a time to pause and reflect on all that NASA has achieved this year. We’re living through the golden era of space exploration, and it’s because of our world-class workforce that we continue to lead the world in air and space – and I can’t wait to see what’s to come,” added Nelson.

Learn more about NASA’s missions online at:


Jackie McGuinness / Cheryl Warner
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1600 /

C. Lacy Thompson
Stennis Space Center, Bay St. Louis, Miss.



Last Updated
Dec 11, 2023