Director of zoo wins reprieve

(First Edition)

DR JOE GIPPS, director of London Zoo, kept his job last night after the ruling council overruled its board which wanted to dismiss him, writes Nicholas Schoon.

But his position appears to remain precarious. The eight-member board had made it plain that it had lost confidence in Dr Gipps, 45, who was give the job on a two-year contract last February after serving as acting director for several months.

The board chairman, Peter Wrangham, a banker, said yesterday that Dr Gipps would face appraisal by the board every six months.

The issue that brought matters to a head was Dr Gipps' handling of pay negotiations with the 150 staff. The board felt he had exceeded its mandate and conceded too much. But the final decision to terminate his contract rested with the Zoological Society of London's 22-member council.

And while the board made a recommendation for dismissal, it was clear that a large majority of the council disagreed without the need for a vote to be taken.