CLEVELAND, Ohio – Holden Forests & Gardens announced Tuesday that its president and CEO, Jill Koski, is stepping down after five years at the helm to take on the same roles at Morton Arborteum in the Chicago suburb of Lisle, Illinois.
The move will also take Koski closer to home and family in Chicago, according to a news release from Holden.
“My tenure at Holden Forests & Gardens has been a great privilege,” Koski said in a written statement. “I am proud of the partnership with a wonderful staff team and the broader community. It has been an exceptional experience to be a part of Northeast Ohio’s commitment to ensuring the health and vitality of the community through the appreciation of plants, trees and the natural world around us.”
Holden Forests & Gardens was created by the merger of Holden Arboretum, based in Kirtland, and the Cleveland Botanical Garden in the University Circle neighborhood of Cleveland.
Holden’s board of directors will condut a national search for Koski’s replacement. Her last day on the job will be Oct. 28. Two Holden deputy directors, Joel Alpern, who is chief of education and guest experience, and Kathy Heflin, treasurer and chief financial officer, will assume interim leadership of the organization, which has 17,000 household members and more than 350,000 visitors a year.
“Upon the successful integration of the Holden Arboretum and the Cleveland Botanical Garden; leading the development of a strategic plan, vision and comprehensive site plan; Jill’s guidance leaves the organization well-poised for continued momentum, growth and success with a talented staff team that will further advance the mission-critical work of the organization,” board Chairman Tom Anderson stated in the release.