Philadelphia Zoo President & CEO Vikram H. Dewan Promotes Dr. Andrew Baker to Chief Operating Officer of America's First Zoo

July 23, 2008 7:15:16 AM PDT
Vikram H. Dewan, Philadelphia Zoo President and CEO, announced that Dr. Andrew J. Baker has been named Chief Operating Officer (COO) of America's First Zoo. "Andy's outstanding background and long history of accomplishment at the Zoo make him ideally suited to serve in this expanded role as we continue to focus on our core mission centered on the animal collection and our conservation work." He added, "Andy will play a critical role in the future of the Zoo as we move forward with our new McNeil Avian Center , scheduled to open next year as we commemorate our 150th anniversary, and the Hamilton Family Children's Zoo, which will open in 2010."

"Dr. Baker has a keen understanding of what makes the Philadelphia Zoo so special, how to harmonize our mission and operational activities, and what it takes for every visitor to connect to our animals and the environment we share," explained Jay H. Calvert, Jr., Chairman of the Zoo's Board of Directors. "He has distinguished himself in his career at the Zoo on a variety of projects including his leadership roles in the development of PECO Primate Reserve and the immensely popular and award-winning Bank of America Big Cat Falls."

"Andy Baker possesses a tremendous depth and breadth of experience and is a recognized leader in the zoological profession," said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. "He is great choice for COO at the Philadelphia Zoo."

"The Philadelphia Zoo is one of the treasures of our region. We're unique as an organization - dedicated to the conservation of wild animals and wild places but also an unequalled destination for family fun and learning," said Dr. Baker. "These dual roles are inextricably linked, and I look forward to working with our outstanding staff and volunteers to focus our impact on such issues as the amphibian extinction crisis and climate change while continuing to create dynamic experiences for our visitors as we engage them in conservation action."

A graduate of the Biological Sciences program at Stanford University and recipient of a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, Dr. Baker joined the Philadelphia Zoo in 1992 as Assistant Curator of Mammals. He was promoted to Curator of Primates and Small Mammals in 1994 and to Vice President for Animal Programs in 2001. As COO, Dr. Baker will continue his Animal Programs responsibilities, overseeing daily operations of a department of more than 70 staff, including veterinarians, curators and keepers, caring for more than 1,300 animals.

Prior to joining the Philadelphia Zoo, Dr. Baker worked at the Los Angeles Zoo and the National Zoo. Dr. Baker is recognized for his scholarship and conservation work with the golden lion tamarin, an endangered monkey native to Brazil. He has received several National Science Foundation grants with Dr. Jim Dietz of the University of Maryland to work with this species. Dr. Baker is widely published in both popular and scholarly publications, including American Journal of Primatology and Animal Behaviour.