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Riverbanks Zoo & Garden (Riverbanks), a national leader among mid-sized zoos in conservation and animal care, seeks an inspiring and visionary leader to serve as its next President & Chief Executive Officer (President). This is a rare opportunity to provide vision and leadership to a beloved statewide resource and respected organization that is well positioned for continued excellence. Riverbanks offers a world-class educational and recreational experience for the entire family, enjoys a high level of public support, and is considered a regional treasure.
Since opening in April 1974, Riverbanks has won a number of awards for exhibit design, breeding programs, and marketing efforts. More than 2,000 animals reside in natural habitat exhibits within 30 acres. The 70-acre Botanical Garden features scenic views of the Saluda River, wooded trails, historic ruins, a children’s garden, and a spectacular walled garden and visitors’ center. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and a member of the American Public Gardens Association, Riverbanks attracts more than 1 million visitors each year. Riverbanks is governed by the Riverbanks Park Commission with additional support provided by the Riverbanks Society, a private, non-profit organization of more than 40,000 member households, representing over 190,000 individuals.
Riverbanks has grown and thrived under the inspiring leadership of Palmer “Satch” Krantz, the retiring President. Krantz is leaving Riverbanks with significant strengths including a nationally recognized conservation program, a skilled, dedicated, and long-serving staff, and a strong financial base. More than most veteran leaders, Krantz leaves the zoo well-equipped to continue on its upward trajectory and ready to support new leadership.
The new President will assume leadership at a time of great opportunity and challenge for Riverbanks and the broader zoo community. The significant challenges that exist around conservation and the public’s perception of zoos require skilled, passionate leadership. The next President will need to have an understanding of animal welfare and collection sustainability, as well as a keen business sense and strong external relations skills. S/he will serve as a civic and cultural leader in the community and will have an important platform from which to influence the field and enhance public understanding and support.
Riverbanks Zoo & Garden is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes a diverse pool of candidates in this search.
The Riverbanks Park Commission has engaged the national executive search firm Isaacson, Miller to help with this important search. All inquiries, nominations, and applications should be directed in confidence to:
Natalie Leonhard & Carmen Delehanty
Riverbanks Zoo & Garden500 Wildlife ParkwayColumbia, SC 29210Phone: 803-779-8717
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