Memphis Zoo names new president, CEO

By Updated: April 10, 2019 11:19 AM CT | Published: April 10, 2019 10:45 AM CT

Memphis Zoo announced Wednesday the appointment of its new president and CEO, Jim Dean.

Dean, a native Memphian, will replace Dr. Chuck Brady, who served as the zoo’s president and CEO for 15 years.

<strong>Jim Dean</strong>

Jim Dean

“If ever there were an ideal candidate with the right mix of business experience and background to take the Memphis Zoo to the next level, it is Jim,” Thomas C. Farnsworth III, chairman of the Memphis Zoological Society board of directors, said in a release. "With Jim’s background and vision, and building upon the work done by Chuck Brady in building the quality of animal experience and habitat during his years with the organization, the future of the zoo is very bright.”

Dean is a University of Memphis graduate with a bachelor’s in engineering, and holds an MBA from St. Louis University. He has more than 30 years of experience in the tourism and attractions industry, and has served in leadership positions at Busch Gardens, Sea World, Discovery Cove, Sesame Place, and most recently as interim president and CEO of Visit St. Pete Clearwater. 

In addition, Dean was given the Distinguished Business Ambassador Award by Florida Gov. Rick Scott in 2015. He is also the 2016 recipient of the Liseberg Applause Award for Busch Gardens Tampa that recognizes excellence and inspiration in the amusement and theme park industry worldwide, and is the 2017 recipient of the University of Memphis Distinguished Alumni Award.

“I am excited to be returning to Memphis after more than 30 years away, and especially excited to be joining a world-renowned tourist attraction like our Memphis Zoo,” Dean said in a release. “It is an honor to be entrusted with the leadership of this outstanding attraction.”

Dean will assume his new position April 29.


Memphis Zoo
Natalie Martin

Natalie Martin

Natalie Martin is a Memphis native and 2018 graduate of the University of Memphis. She worked at The Daily Helmsman, the U of M's student newspaper, for a year as a reporter and a copy editor and has been published in Memphis Magazine. She is a reporter for The Daily Memphian.

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