Peter Friess, who headed the Tech Museum since 2006, announced that he will be resigning in March. He says that he and his wife Birgit Binner plan to launch a new startup selling luxury items to the wealthy.

There is no question that during his tenure as executive director of the Museum, Friess succeeded in turning it around, bringing in more adult-oriented exhibits such as “Star Trek” and Leonardo.” Despite a decline in revenues in 2009, this year revenues were up again at $16.2 million. Though this is still shy of the record-breaking 2008 year with $19.6 million, it signified an increase from 2009’s $14.9 million.

Nevertheless, Friess has also been surrounded by controversy, particularly over the hiring of his wife as a consultant, with a salary of $400,000. Board members claim that Friess was not involved in their decision to hire her, though some employees are not convinced. They say that of the eight contenders for the position, Binner was the only one who did not submit a formal portfolio, and that the criteria used to select a candidate clearly favored Binner over everyone else. The Board responds that Binner not only had the most extensive museum experience. She also submitted the lowest bid for her services.

The Museum announced that it has already begun looking for Friess’s replacement.
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