Ending months of speculation, the National Aquarium has named John Racanelli (above) as CEO. He succeeds Dave Pittenger, who’s been CEO for the past 15 years and a steady presence at the Aquarium since 1981, the year it opened.
With nearly two decades of leadership experience at aquariums in Florida and California, as well as experience working with conservation and non-profit groups, Racanelli would seem to be a good fit for the Aquarium, which is focusing on its own conservation efforts and looking to up the profile of its second site in D.C.
“I believe the modern movement towards inspiring care for our blue planet can trace much of its origin to the National Aquarium, which set a new standard for appreciating the aquatic world 30 years ago,” said Racanelli in a press release. “I am deeply honored to be a part of carrying this mission forward.
“This opportunity to lead and support [the Aquarium] is the culmination of my own life’s work, and I will bear that responsibility with great dedication and humility. I can’t tell you how excited I am to lead and support the team that will propel this organization to its rightful place as a global voice for ocean and aquatic conservation.”