By Rob Karwath
Lake Superior Zoo CEO Corey Leet announced today that he will resign for family reasons and will advise the Lake Superior Zoological Society Board of Directors as a consultant while the search for a new leader is underway.
“It is with regret that I must make this decision and step down from what really has been a dream job for me,” Leet said. “But the needs of my family must come first. I appreciated the confidence that the board and the citizens of Duluth placed in me to run the zoo. I appreciate their understanding now that my family obligations have called me away.”
Leet began work as CEO on Jan. 2 following an executive search that included candidates from across the country. He replaced interim CEO Julene Boe, who had served since February 2016.
Though Leet had been working full-time at the zoo, his wife and children had remained at their home in suburban Minneapolis, awaiting the end of the school year.
Before coming to the zoo, Leet had worked as research operations manager at Medtronic in Coon Rapids, Minn. The Zoological Society, which runs the zoo under a long-term contract with the City of Duluth, thanked Leet for his work to put the zoo on track for enhanced operational and financial health.
The zoo is in the early stages of $15 million redevelopment plan, created jointly by the city and the zoo board, which calls for new attractions and animal exhibits. The plan is the first major capital investment at the zoo in a generation.
“In his short time at the zoo, Corey has been a positive force for operational improvements and for moving ahead with the capital plan,” said Diana Bouschor Dodge, president of the zoo board. “While we are sad to see him go, we know that his family must come first. We will begin immediately searching for a new zoo CEO.”
Dodge said Leet has agreed to advise the board and the zoo staff as a consultant during the transition period.