Former Chairman (1986-1992)
Dexter F. Baker was chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the company from 1986-1992.
Mr. Baker joined Air Products in 1952 as a sales engineer. In 1956 he was made general sales manager of the process equipment division. In 1957 Baker was appointed managing director of Air Products Limited and started the company’s European operations. In 1964 he became chief executive of Air Products’ operations in Europe and was elected to Air Products’ board of directors. Baker returned to the United States in 1967 and was appointed executive vice president the following year. In 1978 he was elected president and chief operating officer, and in 1986 he became chairman of the board and chief executive officer. Baker retired from Air Products in May 1992 and from the executive committee of Air Products’ board in January 1998.
Baker was a past chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers. He was a member of the business delegation that accompanied President George Bush on his Presidential Trade Mission to Asia and the Pacific Rim in January 1992. He had served as the Chemical Industry Trade Advisor for over six years. Baker was a former chairman of the Investment Policy Advisory Committee to the U.S. Trade Representative and a former member of the Pennsylvania Economic Development Partnership Board. He was a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the American Management Association. He was a former director on the board of AMP Incorporated and Eastman Chemical Company. He was also on the Advisory Council of Lutron Electronics, Inc.
Baker had received the prestigious Chemical Industry Medal of the Society of Chemical Industry (American Section) in 1991; was honored as the Business Leader of the Year by the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry in 1992; and had received the Leadership Award from the United States Council for International Business in 1993.
Baker was born in 1927. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering in 1950 and a Master’s in 1957 from Lehigh University. Lehigh awarded Baker an honorary doctorate of engineering in 1981; Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales had awarded him an honorary doctorate of humane letters in 1991; and Muhlenberg College awarded him an honorary doctorate of humanities in 1998. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1945-1946 and in the U.S. Army from 1950-1952.
Baker was a member of the board of trustees of the Harry C. and Mary M. Trexler Foundation and president of the Dexter F. and Dorothy H. Baker Foundation. He was a Trustee Emeritus of Lehigh University and is a former member of the Asa Packer Society, Iacocca Institute Advisory Board and the Agile Manufacturing Enterprise Forum. He had chaired the $35 million capital campaign for Lehigh University’s new Zoellner Arts Center and its Baker Concert Hall.
In 1983 Baker had received the Distinguished Citizen’s Award from the Minsi Trails Council, Boy Scouts of America and the Pioneer Award from Minsi Trails Council in 1997. In 1995 the Allentown Arts Commission had awarded him the Arts Ovation Special Recognition/Contribution Award for outstanding contribution to the arts for which he also received a special citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. In 1998 Baker received the Lehigh Valley Community Service Award from the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Also in 1998 he had received an award as Outstanding Philanthropist from the National Society of Fund Raising Executives. In 2001 he received the Patron Award from the Governors Awards for the Arts, and in 2002 he was awarded the Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the Boys & Girls Club.
Mr. Baker passed away on November 1, 2012.
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