The Annals of Botany Company has at last concluded its long drawn-out search for a successor to Pat Heslop-Harrison, who will retire from the Chief Editorship of Annals of Botany at the end of the year. A good crop of potential successors to Pat had applied and the proprietor Annals of Botany Company was all set for physical interviewing in Oxford in March. However, the lockdown put paid to that. Pat himself was hoping to retire at last summer’s Editorial Board Meeting so that he could devote more time to his additional post at the South China Botanical Garden but, as soon as the delay in securing his replacement became apparent, he generously agreed to stay on for longer.
Rescheduling the physical interviewing to September had seemed a safe bet at the time but, in the event, we still had to convene everyone by Zoom. As a result, the Chief Editorship of Annals of Botany , the fourteenth since its inception in 1887, has now been offered to Professor Rowan F Sage, of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto, who has accepted from 1 January 2021.
Rowan is a distinguished and well-known plant biologist. Although his primary field is plant physiology, he also has interests and expertise in ecophysiology, evolution, systematics, anatomy and biochemistry – just the formula for a leader of a broad-spectrum plant science journal. The Company is planning an event in December, almost certainly now a virtual one, that will allow us to thank Pat properly for his long and effective service to the journal and to hand over the Chief Editorship formally to Rowan.
On his retirement from the journal, Pat will rejoin the proprietor Annals of Botany Company as a full member. He served as Vice-Chairman during the period 2004-2007, but stood down on his assumption of the Chief Editorship of Annals of Botany in 2008. A celebratory symposium, co-arranged by the South China Botanical Garden and the Annals of Botany Company, has received approval and funding from various local, provincial and national bodies, so all looks good for a landmark event in September 2021.
Roderick Hunt has been Company Secretary and Treasurer of the Annals of Botany Company since 1997 and is a former Editor (1985-1990) and Chief Editor (1990-1995) of Annals of Botany.