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National Aquarium's John Racanelli Named One of Maryland's Most Admired CEOs


The Daily Record has named John Racanelli, CEO of National Aquarium, to the 2013 Maryland’s Most Admired CEOs List.

A passionate advocate for the ocean, Racanelli is immersed in the pursuit of the Aquarium’s nonprofit mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. As CEO, he strives to drive conservation action worldwide, ensure the success of one of the nation’s leading aquarium enterprises and fundamentally change the way the world views the ocean and aquatic systems. More than 1.5 million people annually visit the Aquarium’s venues in Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, DC, while millions more are touched by the Aquarium’s education programs, outreach activities, social media campaigns and conservation initiatives.

Racanelli joined National Aquarium in July 2011 after 10 years as president of Racanelli Partners, Inc. The San Francisco-based consulting firm served the needs of nonprofit leaders nationally and globally, focusing on cultural and conservation organizations including Mission Blue/Sylvia Earle Alliance, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the Surfrider Foundation. Prior to founding his firm, John spent 16 years in leadership positions at U.S. aquariums. He was the first CEO of the Florida Aquarium in Tampa. He also served for nine years on the leadership team of the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium as its vice-president of marketing and development, joining the aquarium a year before its opening.

The winners of The Daily Record Most Admired CEOs List were selected based on several criteria: leadership and vision; competitiveness and innovation; community leadership and service; financial performance and growth; corporate leadership; and board service and nonprofit involvement. In addition, each nominee submitted a letter of recommendation from a current staff member and at least one letter from a nonprofit or other board on which the CEO serves.

Nominees were evaluated based on company size and broken down into six categories: private companies with 150 or more employees; private companies with 51 to 149 employees; private companies with 50 or fewer employees; public companies; nonprofits with more than $10 million in annual revenue; and nonprofits with less than $10 million in annual revenue.

The Daily Record created Maryland’s Most Admired CEOs List in 2012 to recognize business executives who have excelled professionally and serve their communities.

“This year’s class of The Daily Record’s Maryland’s Most Admired CEOs share numerous leadership traits. Those traits include integrity, values, vision and commitment to excellence as well as service within their communities,” said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, publisher of The Daily Record. “The honorees know they cannot succeed by themselves and have learned the value of surrounding themselves with great team members.”

A group of nine judges, including eight who received the 2012 Maryland’s Most Admired CEO honor, selected 26 winners to the 2013 Maryland’s Most Admired CEOs List. The winners will be honored Sept. 19 at a cocktail reception at the Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport. They will be profiled in a special magazine to be included in the Sept. 20 edition of The Daily Record.

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