John Racanelli

President and Chief Executive Officer

As president and CEO of the National Aquarium, John leads a diverse, talented team of employees and volunteers in pursuing the Aquarium's global mission to connect people with nature while inspiring care and compassion for our ocean planet. As one of the nation's top aquariums, the National Aquarium welcomes 1.2 million guests and reaches ten times that through its many digital channels every year.

Recognized as a visionary in the ocean conservation space, John has led some of the country's most successful aquariums in a career spanning 40 years. Sought after as a speaker and writer, he is known for challenging old ways of thinking and promoting entrepreneurial approaches in zoos, aquariums and museums. His innovations include designing the world's first dolphin sanctuary, leading the creation of a revolutionary floating wetland technology and employing predictive analytics to evaluate and refine mission effectiveness.

John came to the National Aquarium in 2011 after 10 years leading a San Francisco-based consulting firm that provided expert counsel to cultural and conservation organizations including the Sylvia Earle Alliance/Mission Blue, International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Surfrider Foundation. Over two prior decades, John served in leadership positions at the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Florida Aquarium, Tampa Bay's leading cultural attraction. John began his career as a diver/aquarist and has never lost sight of his origins. He holds a degree in strategic management from the Dominican University of California and lives in Baltimore's historic Canton waterfront district with his spouse, Susan.