Former Air Products CEO and area philanthropist Dexter F. Baker died Nov. 1, the company announced. He was 85.
Baker, who joined Air Products in 1952, had been chairman of the board and chief executive officer from 1986-1992, after serving the company in several advancing roles.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dexter’s wife Dottie and his family," said John McGlade, Air Products’ chairman, president and chief executive officer, in a release.
"Dexter was very forward-thinking and our company and all of our employees owe him a debt of gratitude for his leadership. Dexter will be sorely missed by many at our company and in the community where he was very active and focused on ways to better our society.”
According to the Air Products website:
* Baker joined Air Products and Chemicals Inc. in 1952 as a sales engineer.
* He was made general sales manager of the process equipment division in 1956.
* He was appointed managing director of Air Products Limited in 1957 and moved with his family to England.
* He became chief executive of Air Products’ operations in Europe in 1964 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.
* He was elected president and chief operating officer in 1978.
* He became chairman of the board and chief executive officer in 1986.
* Baker retired from Air Products in May 1992 and from the executive committee of Air Products board in January 1998.
Baker received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1950 and an master’s in 1957 from Lehigh University. Lehigh awarded Baker an honorary doctorate of engineering in 1981; Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales awarded him an honorary doctorate of humane letters in 1991, and Muhlenberg College awarded him an honorary doctorate of humanities in 1998, according to the website.
Baker was a trustee 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 a former member of the Asa Packer Society, Iacocca Institute Advisory Board and the Agile Manufacturing Enterprise Forum. He chaired the $35 million capital campaign for Lehigh University’s new Zoellner Arts Center and its Baker Concert Hall.