New President and CEO named at the Buffalo Zoo

Posted at 10:51 AM, Apr 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-24 12:38:46-04

The Buffalo Zoo has named its new president and CEO as the previous president, Donna Fernandes, passes on her torch.

The Zoological Society of Buffalo Inc. has named Norah Fletchall, COO and senior vice president of the Indianapolis Zoological Society, was announced in her new position Monday morning.

Fletchell has been the Indianapolis Zoo's COO since February 2016 and served as the supervising vice president of operations for three years before that.

Fletchall was also a member of the zoo's executive cabinet and helped prepare the zoo's $29 million annual operating and capital budgets. She also oversaw 140 full-time and more than 200 part-time employees at a zoo that brings in 1.2 million visitors every year.

"I am honored to be asked to lead the Buffalo Zoo and I see this as the culmination of my career work to bring people - especially children - together with animals they normally would never see in their lifetimes," Flechall said. "I know too that Buffalo is growing on all fronts, and I'm looking forward to moving here and being a part of that. I'm also thrilled to work at an institution dating to 1875 that has many more great years ahead."

"We are extremely pleased that Norah is going to direct the Buffalo Zoo," said the Society's Board Chair, Jonathan Dandes. "She is an experienced and dynamic zoo leader with all the talents and assets we need to continue to grow and improve our great zoo. Norah will continue Dr. Fernandes' rich tradition of excellence the zoo and our community have come to expect."

During Fernandes' time at the Buffalo Zoo, the facility developed $50 million in new exhibits and visitor attractions, enrolled more than 18,000 members and built annual attendance to a 30-year record high of 538,000. In total, the Zoo now has more than 1,000 animals representing 500 species.

Fletchall is coming from a zoo which cares for twice as many animals and more than 31,000 plants on property about three times the size of the Buffalo Zoo.

Fletchall officially begins her role on May 22.