Chief executive of Dudley Zoological Gardens quits after suspension

Peter Suddock, who had led the charity since 1993, was suspended on full pay last month

Peter Suddock
Peter Suddock

The chief executive of Dudley Zoological Gardens has left his post by mutual agreement after he was suspended.

Peter Suddock had led the West Midlands charity for 22 years but was suspended on full pay last month while an investigation was carried out into his "conduct of certain affairs", the zoo said.

The zoo’s trustees submitted a serious incident report to the Charity Commission, making it aware of Suddock’s suspension, and conducted an internal investigation, which has now been concluded.

A spokeswoman for Dudley Zoo declined to give further details of Suddock’s departure. She also declined to comment on reports that his partner, Jill Hitchman, head of media and communications at the zoo, had also left the charity.

A statement from the zoo said: "By mutual agreement and after 22 years in post, Peter Suddock has retired from his position as chief executive officer of Dudley Zoological Gardens. Until further notice, Dudley Zoo will continue to be run by the existing management team, led by senior curator Derek Grove."

A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said the regulator was aware of the suspension and remained in contact with the zoo’s trustees.

"We do not, at this stage, have ground for serious concerns about the charity and are not formally investigating it," she said. "We continue to engage with the trustees of Dudley Zoo, who did the right thing in reporting the incident to us."

Suddock became chief executive of Dudley Zoo in 1993. He is a former chairman of the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.

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