David Baker has been named president and executive director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. He will begin the position January 6.

“We are very fortunate to have such a successful and experienced entrepreneur and executive like Dave Baker join the Hall of Fame team,” said Tom Schervish, chairman of the Pro Football Hall of Fame board of trustees. “He has a consistent record of success in areas that are vital to the future success of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”

Baker has more than 35 years of leadership in business management, professional sports and public service. For the last four years Baker has worked as a partner at Union Village, LLC, a healthcare company in Henderson, Nevada. His professional sports career includes a 12-year tenure (1996-2008) as commissioner of the Arena Football League. Under his leadership, the AFL experienced unprecedented growth in attendance, TV ratings, corporate sponsorships, merchandise sales, revenue and profitability. Baker first joined the AFL in 1995 when he purchased the Anaheim Piranhas. That same year he was elected the AFL’s chairman of the board.

Baker will become the sixth president and executive director in the Hall of Fame’s 50-year history, succeeding Stephen A. Perry who served since April 2006. Perry announced last September that he planned to retire as soon as a successor was selected following a national search.

“I am humbled to be afforded the esteemed privilege of continuing Stephen Perry’s leadership and the great work of the Pro Football Hall of Fame team in honoring the greatest heroes and legends of the game, preserving its rich history as well as promoting the positive values and noble virtues of a game that is central to our American culture and our country’s strength of character,” Baker said.