Aquarium Presidential Search Continues

February 05, 2009

The search for a new Oregon Coast Aquarium President and Chief Executive Officer has been extended this week after the finalist declined the Aquarium’s offer for the position. Chris Gentile regretfully declined the offer due to family ties in the Southeast.

The position has been vacant since September 2008 when former Aquarium President and Chief Executive Officer, Dale Schmidt accepted a position as Assistant Zoo Director and Chief Operating Officer at The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, Ohio.

Carrie Lewis, Aquarium Director of Marketing will step in as interim Chief Executive Officer while the search resumes. “I am pleased to work with such a talented group of staff and volunteers, who have stepped up to the plate during this period of transition. We would like to thank our community for its support of the Aquarium as we expand the search for our new Director and community member.”

“The Aquarium is a much stronger institution than it was four years ago during our last CEO search,” said Fred Postlewait, Chairman of the Aquarium Board of Directors. “We want to find the right candidate with the leadership skills and fundraising skills to augment the strong management team we have in place. We have had several candidates visit the Aquarium so far but we have not come upon the right match.”

The Oregon Coast Aquarium showcases the beauty and diversity of Oregon’s coast including sharks, sea lions, sea otters, a giant pacific octopus and see tufted puffins up close in one of the largest marine aviaries in North America. The Aquarium has been rated among the top 10 aquariums in the nation by USA Today, Coastal Living and Parents magazines and was recently listed among the top ten destinations by Trip Advisor and Forbes Traveler. Visitors enter the Passages of the Deep exhibit encountering sharks, rays and thousands of other fish swimming all around them in the underwater tunnel. Spirit Magazine called Passages of the Deep “the coolest 50 yards on the Oregon Coast!”