The Lowry Park Zoological Society today announced that, after 15 years at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo(five as CEO), Craig Pugh will leave June 1 to join Chicago-based Public Communications Inc. as an owner and president. Pugh, who began his career in Chicago, will return after two decades leading Florida cultural attractions.
TAMPA, Fla. (April 22, 2015) — The Lowry Park Zoological Society today announced that, after 15 years at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo (five as CEO), Craig Pugh will leave June 1 to join Chicago-based Public Communications Inc. as an owner and president. Pugh, who began his career in Chicago, will return after two decades leading Florida cultural attractions.
“It has been a privilege to work beside committed employees and volunteers who accomplish so much,” said Pugh. “The standards we uphold at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo are second to none, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have had a role in guiding this exceptional organization.”
Pugh is widely recognized for his leadership in advancing the Zoo during a significant time in its history, including its 25th anniversary. Last month, the Zoo received its second 5-year accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) under Pugh’s tenure.Also in March, the Zoo’s veterinary hospital became the first at a zoo in North America to be accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).
“Craig has emphasized a culture of excellence in all of the Zoo’s core areas — education, recreation, conservation and research — and has inspired talented employees and volunteers to exceed industry standards for a modern zoo,” said Bob Rasmussen, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Lowry Park Zoological Society. “During his last five years as CEO, he built a top management team that has the skills, knowledge and leadership to keep the Zoo strong.”
Rasmussen, who was unanimously re-elected earlier this year to a second term as Chairman of the Board, has assembled a transition team to manage the Zoo’s affairs and operations until the board appoints a successor.
The Zoo’s leadership transition team comprises:
- Lawrence (Larry) E. Killmar, Ph.D., Vice President of Animal Science and Conservation (eight years at the Zoo and 45 in the industry)
- Elizabeth Hennig, Chief Financial Officer (14 years at the Zoo and four as CFO)
- Tony Moore, Chief Operating Officer(one year at the Zoo and 30 in the industry)
During the transition period, Dr. Killmar will be the primary contact for Zoo leadership. The Board of Trustees will meet in May for its regularly scheduled meeting with a priority to address the Zoo’s succession plan.
“The Board is grateful to Craig for his many years of dedicated service and significant contributions to the Zoo, and wishes him well in his new role,” added Rasmussen. “He has done an outstanding job in leading the Zoo during his tenure as CEO.”
Pugh came to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo in 1999 from Palm Beach Zoo where he served as Executive Director. In Tampa, he became Deputy Director in 2005, Acting CEO in 2008, and CEO in 2010. Prior to Palm Beach, he was Associate Director for Communications at the Chicago Zoological Society and managing editor for a medical publishing company.
During his tenure as CEO at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, the Zoo’s African elephant care and conservation program won top honors in 2014 with AZA’s prestigious Edward H. Bean Award. Also in 2014, the Zoo’s manatee care and conservation program received the brand of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) as a project of international significance. Pugh was elected in2014 to the AZA Board of Directors, and received a Hometown Hero award in 2013 from Visit Tampa Bay for helping to boost convention business.