COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s biggest tourist attraction has a new president and chief executive officer.

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia has announced that interim leader Thomas Stringfellow is getting the job on a permanent basis.

Stringfellow replaces Palmer “Satch” Krantz, who had led the zoo more than 40 years when he returned in June.

Stringfellow said he’s grateful for the opportunity.

He had been the park’s marketing director for more than 10 years when he became chief operating officer in 2011. Stringfellow previously worked at various theme parks in Georgia and New York.

Krantz had joined the zoo in 1973 and became executive director three years later, at age 26.

Riverbanks is now home to more than 2,000 animals. It had nearly 1.4 million visitors last year.

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