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Cameron Kerr 

The Deputy Premier and Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Carmel Tebbutt, today announced that that Cameron Kerr would be appointed as the new Director and CEO of Taronga and Taronga Western Plains Zoos.

After an international recruitment process, Mr Kerr was selected from a field of applicants and will start in the job on August 29. He will replace the present director, Guy Cooper, who is retiring after 11 years as zoo Director and CEO.

Ms Tebbutt said Mr Kerr's appointment would ensure that the zoo would continue to be a world leader in conservation and education.

"Mr Kerr has been with Taronga for almost a decade and we are lucky to have such a skilled applicant who also had an understanding of what contributes to the success of this institution,"
Ms Tebbutt said.

Mr Kerr's most recent position was as General Manager for Life Sciences and Environmental Education at the TCSA. He started in 2000 as the General Manager for Marketing and Communications.

"Under his stewardship, the zoo has expanded its Education Centre, and its Indigenous education programs, as well as opening the new Roar and Snore overnight stay program to become a premier environmental education program and tourist attraction," Ms Tebbutt said.   

Mr Kerr said he was incredibly proud to be appointed as director and CEO and given the task of leading the two zoos.

"We're at a significant juncture in the history of the Taronga Conservation Society Australia and developing our capacity to deliver vitally important community education programs as well as continuing our commitment to wildlife conservation."

Mr Kerr holds a Masters of Commerce and Bachelor of Science (Hons). Prior to working at the zoos, he was a Research and Development scientist for Bayer Pharmaceuticals and Marketing Manager for Wella Australia and Faulding Health Consumer Division.

Ms Tebbutt said that although it was sad to see Mr Cooper retire he was leaving the zoo in a strong position.

"Guy Cooper has provided fantastic leadership to Taronga and Western Plains over the last 11 years," Ms Tebbutt said.

"He established the Taronga Foundation which has raised $40 million since 2001 and oversaw the successful construction and implementation of the first eight years of the 12 year master plan redevelopment of Taronga and Western Plains zoos.

"Under Mr Cooper's leadership, threatened species in conservation programs have grown and witnessed major scientific breakthroughs such as the Playtpus, Francois Langur, Booroolong Frog and Rhinoceros breeding programs.

"Mr Cooper was also responsible for rebranding the zoos to better reflect the range of education, conservation and research activities undertaken by the organisation now known as the Taronga Conservation Society Australia," Ms Tebbutt said.

"I wish him all the best in his retirement and thank him on behalf of the NSW Government for his outstanding service."

For media inquiries contact: Patrick Keneally 0431 743 212

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