John Racanelli

John Racanelli
President and Chief Executive Officer
As president and CEO of the National Aquarium, John leads a diverse and talented team of employees and volunteers in pursuing the Aquarium’s mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures and in welcoming 1.2 million guests annually.

In close cooperation with the Board of Directors, John sets the vision and strategic goals that define how the National Aquarium will evolve to fulfill its mission in a rapidly changing world. Key priorities include reimagining the Aquarium’s waterfront campus as a public conservation space, creating North America’s first dolphin sanctuary and continuously revamping the Aquarium experience to maximize its effectiveness in engaging and inspiring a new generation of “hopeful conservationists.”

John joined the National Aquarium in July 2011 after 10 years as founder of a San Francisco-based consulting firm that provided expert counsel to nonprofit leaders nationally and globally. During that time, his firm worked with over 30 leading cultural and conservation organizations—among them the Sylvia Earle Alliance/Mission Blue, International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Surfrider Foundation—as well as technology giant Google, where he assisted author and oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle in bringing the ocean into Google Earth, the most popular Earth visualization tool in existence.

John also spent 16 years in leadership positions at U.S. aquariums. He was the first CEO of the Florida Aquarium in Tampa, where he built the facility, team and vision for Tampa Bay’s leading cultural attraction. He joined the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium one year prior to its opening, serving for nine years on its leadership team as vice president of marketing and development. While in college, John began his career as a diver and aquarist, experiences that he credits with giving him great appreciation for the work of everyone on the Aquarium team.