Amid scandal, Columbus Zoo chooses new CEO

Longtime Texas State Aquarium leader Tom Schmid will become the next President and CEO of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Why is this important: Schmid begins on December 6 and will be responsible for restoring public confidence in the zoo following the recent scandals.

  • The zoo may soon lose its accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a distinction she has had since 1980, according to a WCMH story.
  • Tom Stalf, Schmid’s predecessor, resigned in March amid allegations he personally used zoo assets, including credit cards, vehicles, homes and tickets to events.

Go back: Schmid, 58, has been running the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, Texas, since 1999. Prior to that, he ran Nauticus, a marine science center in Norfolk, Va., And began his career at SeaWorld in Orlando, Virginia. Florida.

  • Under Schmid’s leadership, the aquarium doubled in size with a $ 58 million, 71,000 square foot expansion in 2017, and a new wildlife rescue center. is now under construction.

And after: Schmid’s first priority will be to ensure that the staff “once again have confidence in the management of the zoo,” he told Axios.

  • “A big part of my goal will be to regain trust in the community, both in central Ohio and in the zoo community in general,” he said.
  • Eventually, the North American region of the park will likely be targeted for improvements due to obsolete habitat.
  • Until December, Columbus Zoo Director Emeritus Jerry Borin, who came out of retirement after Stalf resigned, will continue to run the zoo.

The big picture: Schmid said he was hooked by the scale of the operations – the 622-acre zoo itself, plus a water park, golf course and nearly 10,000-acre conservation park, The Wilds, in the is from Columbus.

What they say : Keith Shumate, chairman of the zoo board, told board members Schmid was the right person to “help move the zoo forward.”

  • Schmid’s base salary will be $ 425,000, Shumate confirmed.

During this time, a state investigation of former zoo officials, led by the charitable law section of the Ohio attorney general, is underway, along with a state audit.

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