Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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2 finalists picked for Toledo Zoo leader

Panel chooses men from N.Y., California



A search committee has submitted its final two choices to replace Dr. Anne Baker, the Toledo Zoo's executive director and chief executive officer.

They are Christopher Andrews and Jeffrey K. Sailer. Mr. Andrews most recently was director of the Steinhart Aquarium, California Academy of Sciences, in San Francisco. Mr. Sailer is director of city zoos with the Wildlife Conservation Society, New York City.

The Toledo Zoo's board of directors is expected to make a decision by the end of the summer.

Because the zoo's board is a policy board and not an operating board, choosing a new executive director is the most important decision it has made in six years, said Lynn "Zac" Isaac, president of the board, who headed the search committee.

The committee, which engaged executive search firm Isaacson, Miller of Boston to assist with the process, whittled an initial pool of a couple hundred names to 25 candidates. That list eventually was narrowed to five finalists, who came to Toledo for 90-minute interviews.

Citing confidentiality promised to applicants, Mr. Isaac declined to reveal if there were any internal candidates or any other finalists.

"We were very pleased with the initial response," Mr. Isaac said. "I think it's due to the reputation of the zoo, the reputation of Dr. Baker and what Dr. Baker has done during the past six years here at the zoo."

According to biographical information provided by zoo officials, Mr. Sailer's early interest in birds and zoology led him to attend Ball State University, where he received a bachelor's degree in biology.

While working on his master's degree in zoology at the University of Florida, he supported himself by teaching ecology to nonbiology-major students and working as a scientific observer on commercial shark-fishing vessels, which furthered his interests.

Mr. Sailer was previously the curator of birds for the Miami Metrozoo and the curator of animals for the Wildlife Conservation Society's Central Park Zoo. He was promoted to director of the Central Park Zoo and later to director of City Zoos, a position overseeing the Central Park, Prospect Park, and Queens zoos.

Biographies indicate that Mr. Andrews was most recently the director of the Steinhart Aquarium and the chief of public programs at the California Academy of Sciences. At the academy, his responsibilities included developing exhibits, educational programs and shows, and the institution's sustainability initiative.

Prior to the academy, Mr. Andrews was the founding executive director at the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston.

He has also held senior animal management positions at the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the London Zoo and has been a biologist for a regional wildlife department in his native England.

Mr. Andrews has a bachelor's degree in zoology and animal biology from the University of Leeds and a PhD in freshwater biology/parasitology from the University of Liverpool.

"This will not be an easy decision," Mr. Isaac said. "We have two very competent and experienced people to choose from."

Dr. Baker informed the Toledo Zoological Society board's executive committee in February of her plans to retire from her $177,735-a-year post. She is to stay on until a successor is in place.

Contact Tanya Irwin at: or 419-724-6066.

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