Jim Hekkers Stepping Down as Aquarium Managing Director; Will Continue on Consulting Basis

Jun 25, 2015

Aquarium News

Jim Hekkers is stepping down as the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s managing director, and a search is underway for his successor.

Hekkers has been with the aquarium as the non-profit’s managing director for 15 years, and his transition has been in planning for more than a year. During his tenure, he has overseen a period of strong growth in the aquarium’s success as a visitor destination. In 2014, attendance topped two million visitors, its third highest attendance year since opening in 1984. In addition, the aquarium was rated as the best aquarium in the world by TripAdvisor.

Hekkers has also played a key role in the tremendous growth in the non-profit’s mission-related programs, from expanded education and low-income access programs to a rapidly expanding conservation and science division. The aquarium is working for healthier oceans in areas that include scientific research involving sea otters, bluefin tuna and white sharks, as well as in policy and advocacy work around seafood, marine protected areas, ocean policy, ocean pollution, climate change and other topics.

Hekkers has served on the boards of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History and the National Steinbeck Center.

He and his wife, Sally, will be moving to Denver to be near their five grandchildren. Hekkers will continue to advise the aquarium on key planning and management issues, as well as provide consulting services to other organizations.

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The mission of the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the ocean.