BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Buffalo Zoo’s Board of Directors on Tuesday accepted the resignation of President and CEO Norah Fletchall, after over five years of her leading the zoo.

Chief Zoological Officer Lisa Smith will serve as interim president and CEO, while former board chair Jon Dandes will lead a national search committee to appoint a successor to Fletchall.

“We on the Board wish Norah the best and thank her for leading the successful AZA accreditation process. Her stewardship of the Zoo, her love of our animals, and her vision as set out in our strategic plan helped put the Zoo on a vibrant path for the future,” said David Flynn, chairman of the zoo’s Board of Directors. “We are strong institutionally, financially, and programmatically.”

Fletchall served as COO at the Indianapolis Zoo until April 2017, when she took over for longtime Buffalo Zoo President and CEO Donna Fernandes.

“It has been an absolute pleasure and honor to lead the Buffalo Zoo,” she said. “It was vital to me to see the Zoo through the rigorous accreditation process, and I could not be more proud of all we’ve accomplished together. I want to thank every member of the Buffalo Zoo team, our guests, donors, and everyone who continues to support and make the Zoo the special place it is. I’m looking forward to my next professional endeavor.”

Adam Duke is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of his work here.