New chief executive for Marwell Zoo

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Laura Read, Marwell CEO outside Marwell House

Marwell Wildlife, the charity that owns and operates Marwell Zoo, has a new Chief Executive.

Laura Read is joining Marwell from Westquay Shopping Centre where she is currently Destination Director.

She has 20 years of experience in leadership roles within the destination management, retail, hospitality and events sectors and is also Chair of Southampton Forward, the city’s cultural trust, which aims to enhance the region through cultural activations, festivals and events and tourism.

Laura will take up her new role next month and is looking forward to getting back to her conservation roots having originally graduated with a BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Warwick.

Laura said: “Marwell is somewhere I’ve been coming to since I was a child and in turn, somewhere I have brought my own children, so it is a special place for me.

“When I graduated, I wanted very much to work in the field of conservation but for many reasons, life took me in a different direction. Now, having the opportunity to combine a lifelong passion with my years of commercial experience in an organisation as regionally, nationally and internationally renowned as Marwell Wildlife is a dream come true.

“I am very much looking forward to applying my skills to grow and develop Marwell, both as a fantastic zoo experience for our visitors but also as a globally leading force in the preservation of biodiversity. I am so proud to be working for an organisation that has done so much to protect some of the planet’s most vulnerable species.”

In her spare time, Laura loves travelling with her young family and witnessing conservation efforts throughout the world first-hand. Recent trips have included Panama, Guatemala and India.

Frank McCaffrey, Chair of Marwell’s Board of Trustees, said: “We believe we are truly fortunate to be able to appoint someone of Laura’s calibre, vision, and passion to lead us in our continuing aim of developing the modern, pioneering, and progressive zoo for today’s changing planet.”

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