The Central Asia Institute announced Thursday that its founder and longtime public face, author Greg Mortenson, will leave the school-building charity in January, the Associated Press reports. Mr. Mortenson's retirement comes four and a half years after the institute was engulfed in scandal over claims that he fabricated parts of his best-selling memoir, Three Cups of Tea, and mismanaged the charity, which he started in the wake of the book's success.
The Bozeman, Mont.-based institute has seen a decline in donations since the allegations against Mr. Mortenson surfaced in a April 2011 "60 Minutes" report, and it is seeking to refocus its mission from establishing schools in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. Organization officials said Mr. Mortenson is departing of his own accord.
Along with questions over the veracity of his memoir, Mr. Mortenson was accused of using the institute and its resources to promote himself and his books. He was ordered to repay the charity $1 million in 2012 as part of an agreement to settle an investigation by Montana's attorney general. Mr. Mortenson also gave up management of the nonprofit as part of the pact, but he remained a full-time member of its staff.