Texas State Aquarium’s CEO Tom Schmid has been selected to be the new president of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio.
After 25 years with the aquarium, Schmid will end his time in Corpus Christi at the end of November and start the next chapter of his life Dec. 6.
“I’m excited about the opportunity,” Schmid said. “It’s going to be really difficult leaving Corpus Christi, but the aquarium is in the strongest financial position that it has even been in. We have an amazing staff and I’m confident that there’s going to be a very smooth transition.”
In a news release, Columbus Zoo Board Chairman Keith Shumate said Schmid is widely acclaimed throughout the zoo and aquarium industry as smart, ethical and passionate about zoos and wildlife conservation.
“I believe that we have found an individual with the experience to lead this zoo and take it to the next level,” Shumate said. “In getting to know Tom, I am struck not only by his track record as a leader but also his skills as a listener. I am excited for this community to get to know him and for the Columbus Zoo to move forward under his leadership.”
Charlie Zahn, Texas State Aquarium board chairman, said Schmid led the organization to new heights and helped continue a tradition of strength in the community.
“With his leadership, the Texas State Aquarium has successfully navigated through achievements and the most unprecedented challenges,” Zahn said. “The organization’s strength during hurricanes and a pandemic resulted in a strong performance, with momentum continuing to grow. We are grateful for the steady leadership and experience that Tom has brought to the organization.”
Jesse Gilbert, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Texas State Aquarium, will be named the interim CEO once Schmid departs. The aquarium’s board will conduct a national search to find a permanent CEO.
“The possibilities are endless, and it’s truly an honor to be selected to lead this organization and see what new opportunities we can create together,” Schmid said.
John Oliva covers education and community news in South Texas. Consider supporting local journalism with a subscription to the Caller-Times.