Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden has announced that Thomas Stringfellow will be its new leader.
The zoo said Tuesday that Stringfellow, who's been with the park since 2002, had been promoted to the positions of President and CEO. He takes over for Satch Krantz, who'd led the zoo for decades, and had been with the park since its inception.
Stringfellow had previously been serving as the interim CEO since Krantz retired in June.
Below is the zoo's statement:
"Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is pleased to announce the promotion of Thomas K. Stringfellow to president and CEO. Stringfellow becomes only the third executive to oversee the Zoo in its 43-year-history.
"Stringfellow most recently served as Riverbanks' interim president and CEO following the retirement of Palmer "Satch" Krantz III in June. He began his career at the Zoo and Garden in 2002 as director of marketing and was promoted to chief operating officer in 2011.
"I am exceedingly grateful for this opportunity and especially proud to lead Riverbanks as president and CEO," said Stringfellow. "The Zoo employs a knowledgeable, driven and dedicated staff each of whom I'm excited to journey with as we build upon Riverbanks' past successes and continue to grow the Zoo as a global leader in conservation, education, science and recreation."
"The announcement comes as Riverbanks boasts another record-breaking attendance year. The Zoo and Garden welcomed 1,389,856 guests during the 2016-2017 fiscal year—besting the previous record of 1,280,911 visitors set during the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
"Tommy brings extensive knowledge and experience to this vital role with more than 25 years combined in the zoo and attractions industries," said Mary Howard, chair of Riverbanks Park Commission. "Tommy has demonstrated effective, visionary leadership throughout his tenure at Riverbanks. His proven track record and dedication to the Zoo will ensure Riverbanks' continued growth, financial success and leadership in the field of conservation."
"Prior to his leadership roles at Riverbanks, Stringfellow directed the sales and marketing efforts at various theme parks including Paramount Parks' Six Flags Over Georgia, Six Flags Whitewater Water Park and American Adventures Family Entertainment Center and Six Flags Great Escape and Water Park in upstate New York.
Stringfellow is an active member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Winthrop University."