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Memphis Zoo president and CEO announces retirement

Former Memphis Zoo President and CEO Jim Dean
Former Memphis Zoo President and CEO Jim Dean(Memphis Zoo)
Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 10:41 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis Zoo President and CEO Jim Dean announced his retirement Thursday opening the door for a new leader with a familiar face.

Dean signed a three-year contract in 2019 and is now turning over the keys to the current Executive Director and Vice President, Matt Thompson, who has been with the zoo for 26 years.

New Memphis Zoo President and CEO Matt Thompson
New Memphis Zoo President and CEO Matt Thompson(Memphis Zoo)

“It was an honor and a privilege to be able to come back home to Memphis and be a part of this amazing team and help in the great work that they do every day, " said Dean.

“Jim had a keen attention to guest experience and appearance of the zoo that significantly impacts guest’s view of the zoo as soon as they walk through the front gates,” said Thompson. “He also impacted the internal experience for the employees in many ways, most importantly though, he increased communication between departments across the entire zoo.”

As the zoo works to finalize its revised parking plan with Overton Park Conservancy Dean will remain involved in the project.

Memphis Zoo released a statement on its past and present leader saying in part:

“The Memphis Zoological Society is thankful for Dean’s leadership and friendship and wish him all the happiness in his retirement. Matt Thompson will be moving into the role of president and CEO, bringing with him a 26-year history with the Memphis Zoo.

Thompson has grown from a zookeeper to holding many different leadership roles at the zoo. As president and CEO, Thompson will bring a passion for the animals at the Memphis Zoo, as he embodies the Zoo’s mission of Creating Adventures and Saving Wildlife.”

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