The Memphis Zoo will be under new leadership later this month.
The Memphis Zoological Society Board of Directors voted Tuesday evening to select Memphis native and University of Memphis graduate Jim Dean as the new president and CEO of the zoo.
Dean will begin his tenure at the zoo on April 29th, replacing Chuck Brady, who served as president and CEO for 15 years.
“I am excited to be returning to Memphis after more than 30 years away, and especially excited to be joining a world-renowned tourist attraction like our Memphis Zoo,” Dean said. “It is an honor to be entrusted with the leadership of this outstanding attraction.”
Dean has worked in the tourism and attraction industry for more than 30 years. He’s recognized for his work in conservation, animal welfare and education, and managing world-class attractions, the zoo said.
He’s held leadership positions at attractions such as Busch Gardens, Sea World, Discovery Cove, and Visit St. Pete Clearwater.
Thomas Farnsworth III, chairman of the Memphis Zoological Society board, said Dean is the “ideal candidate” for the position.
“If ever there were an ideal candidate with the right mix of business experience and background to take the Memphis Zoo to the next level, it’s Jim,” Farnsworth said. “The zoo is already Memphis’ highest attended attraction and has been ranked the top zoo in the country by two independent surveys.
“With Jim’s background and vision, and building upon the work done by Chuck Brady in building the quality of animal experience and habitat during his years with the organization, the future of the zoo is very bright.”