Fresno Chaffee Zoo CEO announces retirement

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Fresno Chaffee Zoo Admin staff headshot

Fresno, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Fresno Chaffee Zoo CEO announces retirement plans on Tuesday after 11 years in the position.

CEO Scott Barton announced his intention to retire in the fall. Barton led the zoo through transformational projects including Sea Lion Cove and African Adventure– doubling the size of the zoo, officials say.

Zoo officials say Barton also guided the zoo through the second passing of Measure Z in 2014 and the design and planning of the zoo’s future exhibit Kingdoms of Asia and African River.

Barton will continue in his position through the summer to aid in the search and the transition to new leadership.

“I am very proud of our accomplishments over the past 11 years and am always impressed by the remarkable support for Fresno Chaffee Zoo from our community. Our team’s mission has always been to provide the Central Valley with a sustainable, world-class zoo experience. I’m confident the next generation of leadership will continue this vision at the zoo,” Barton said.

“Scott has truly transformed Fresno Chaffee Zoo into one of California’s leading zoo and a first-class experience. A strong leader with a vibrant vision, Scott is deeply committed to the welfare of animals in his charge and he’s leaving big shoes to fill,” City of Fresno Mayor Lee Brand said.

Zoo Corporation Board Chair Kyle Kirkland stated, “Through Scott’s vision, Fresno Chaffee Zoo has become a world-renowned zoo and a top tourist attraction in the Valley, providing award-winning exhibits and first-class guest experience to our community. The Board thanks Scott for his leadership, dedication, and passion and looks forward to his insight in identifying the next leader to educate and inspire greater appreciation, respect and care for animals and the environment.

Kyle Kirkland with the Zoo Corporation Board says the board has formed a special committee to oversee the nationwide search and selection of the new CEO to ensure the zoo continues to enjoy exceptional management talent, a smooth transition in leadership and uninterrupted progress on existing projects.

Barton was named CEO and executive director of the Fresno Chaffee Zoo in May 2009.

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