published on March 6, 2020 - 1:37 PM
Written by Gabriel Dillard

Fresno Chaffee Zoo will be looking for a new leader of the pack after its CEO announced his planned retirement.

After 11 years in the position, Scott Barton will vacate the CEO position in the fall, according to a news release.

“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 a first-class guest experience to our community,” said Zoo Corporation Board Chair Kyle Kirkland. “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.”

Barton will continue on in the position through the summer to help with the transition as the zoo board searches for a replacement. A special committee will handle the nationwide search.

As executive, Barton oversaw key capital projects such as Sea Lion Cove and African Adventure, doubling the size of the zoo.

He also helped the zoo in the second passing of Measure Z in 2014, a sales tax increase that, along with its previous iteration, has generated more than $110 million, according to the zoo’s website.

“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,” said Barton. “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.”

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