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Fowler to leave Downtown Partnership for Maryland Zoo

Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Executive Director Kirby Fowler. (File Photo)

Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Executive Director Kirby Fowler. (File Photo)

The Downtown Partnership of Baltimore’s longtime president Kirby Fowler will leave that organization to take up a new role leading the Maryland Zoo, the zoo’s board announced Friday.

Fowler has led the organization promoting business and tourism in downtown Baltimore since 2004, a period that has seen several ups and downs for the city. He has also spent the last five years leading efforts to revitalize the city’s public markets.

“It’s a tremendous honor to join The Maryland Zoo team and have the opportunity to contribute to a zoo that is so well respected for its commitment to animal welfare, conservation, education and guest experience,” Fowler said in a statement. “I look forward to helping the zoo reach its significant potential by continuing to implement animal welfare and habitat advancements, improving the campus and guest experience, and building on educational and conservation programs.”

Don Hutchinson, who has led the zoo for nearly 12 years as president and CEO, announced in June that he would be stepping down June 30, 2020. Fowler will join the zoo in April as part of a transition period.

At the zoo, Fowler will oversee a team of nearly 500 people consisting of 250 staff members and 225 volunteers.

He oversaw a team of around 130 employees with a $9 million annual budget at the Downtown Partnership.

“Kirby was chosen to lead The Maryland Zoo because of his depth and breadth of experience in non-profit leadership, his passion for the Zoo and our conservation mission, and his tremendous energy and enthusiasm for the City of Baltimore,” Jennifer Lowry, chair of the Maryland Zoological Society, Inc. Board of Trustees, said in a statement. “We have full confidence that he will uphold our position as an outstanding cultural, educational and conservation organization, and provide strong, steady leadership through this exciting and pivotal period for the Zoo.”

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