Cathy Zoi is going private.

Zoi -- currently the Acting Undersecretary for Energy and the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy, or the AUEASEERE for the DOE -- will leave the department March 10 to join the private sector in California, according to a memo from the Department of Energy. (We got it via email: thank you, concerned citizen!)

Arun Majumdar, the former UC Berkeley professor currently heading up ARPA-E, will become the Acting Undersecretary of Energy. That's a lot of vowels for one man to carry, even one of Majumdar's stature, so expect some permanent appointments to be made. (Majumdar worked at Lawrence Berkeley with DOE Secretary Steve Chu.)

Meanwhile, chief of staff Rod O'Connor leaves March 18 and DOE general counsel Scott Harris is leaving soon. 

Like others at the DOE, Zoi has been a staunch advocate of federal R&D funding.

“One thing that is clear based on my own career in industry and government is that when faced with major challenges of high technological content in a time of austerity, the last thing one should under-fund is R&D. […] To do so is the equivalent to removing an engine from an overloaded aircraft in order to reduce its weight," she said last month.

(Zoi is the one in the picture that looks like she's about to be impaled by a giant crab or a stink beetle from a Ray Harryhausen movie. Hope she's OK.)

In January, White House energy and climate czar Carol Browner resigned, right about the same time that President Obama and Steve Chu began to include natural gas as part of their clean energy strategy.