Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Friday that a nationwide search has begun for the next director of the Los Angeles Zoo to replace John Lewis, who will retire in January after 15 years in the role.
“John is an outstanding public servant who leads with a remarkable commitment to the animals in his care, and a deep respect for everyone who is devoted to safeguarding their well-being,” Garcetti said. “He is leaving very big shoes to fill — but I am confident that we will find a successor who can build on his accomplishments and drive forward our mission to raise the bar for animal welfare and visitor experiences in the 21st century.”
During his tenure, Lewis successfully oversaw the implementation of $180 million in bond projects, including the addition of the Rainforest of the Americas exhibit and the Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles exhibit, Garcetti’s office said.
Under Lewis’ leadership, the zoo also launched multiple conservation efforts and also introduced innovative and popular programs, including Zoo Lights and Brew at the Zoo, Garcetti’s office said.
Lewis will leave his post on Jan. 4. Assistant Director Denise Verret will serve as interim director until the post is permanently.