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Columbus Zoo Brings In Former Texas State Aquarium CEO As New Leader

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium entrance sign
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium announced its new president and CEO Tom Schmid, who previously led the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, Texas. The news comes along with a report that the zoo is losing its accreditation.

Schmid brings over 34 years of zoo and zoo-related experience, including serving on the chair of the board of directors for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, according to a press release.

Tom Schmid
Tom Schmid

Schmid said that the zoo's work with rare and endangered species, staff expertise and the different kind of attractions — like Safari Golf Club and Zoombezi Bay — are what drew him to the Columbus Zoo.

"I'm humbled and honored to work alongside this incredible team and to become part of the Central Ohio community," Schmid said.

Schmid's hiring comes after former CEO Tom Stalf and other officials resigned in March after a Columbus Dispatch investigation found they were misusing zoo resources. Former zoo executive director Jerry Borin served as interim CEO in the meantime before Schmid's hiring.

Schmid will begin his tenure on Dec. 6.

Michael Lee joined WOSU in 2021, but was previously an intern at the station in 2018. He is a graduate from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism where he obtained his master's degree, and an alumnus of Ohio State University. Michael has previously worked as an intern at the Columbus Dispatch and most recently, the Chicago Sun-Times.