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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Zoo will have a new leader as current president and CEO Jim Dean steps down Thursday.

Matt Thompson, who currently is executive director and vice president, will move into the role, the zoo announced.

Thompson has a 26-year history with the Memphis Zoo, beginning as a zookeeper.

Dean was signed to a three-year contract in 2019, taking over for former president Chuck Brady.

“It was an honor and a privilege to be able to come back home to Memphis and be a part of this
amazing team and help in the great work that they do every day,” Dean said in a statement.

The Memphis Zoo is home to more than 3,500 animals representing more than 500 different species.