Roger Baker

Roger William Weatherburn-Baker

Born and educated in Britain, Roger began his career as a reporter with the Financial Times in London before beginning a 30-year corporate communications career that took him from London to Paris and New York.

IBM Corporation
• After working as a cub reporter on the Financial Times, Roger joined the communications function of IBM at their UK headquarters in London. Four years later, he was chosen to coordinate all aspects of the visit to IBM of HRH Queen Elizabeth II, working for six months in liaison with Buckingham Palace at a time when terrorist attacks by the Irish Republican Army where frequent in Britain.

• Following a successful Royal visit, he was sent on international assignment to IBM Europe Headquarters in Paris to launch an employee newspaper and maintain a common level of quality for the corporation's pan-European internal communications.
While in Paris, he became the first European to be named an Accredited Member of the US-based International Association of Business Communicators and was a founding member of the Paris Chapter of Toastmasters International.

• Promoted to IBM General Business Group International Headquarters in White Plains, New York, Roger traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia, managing content for and coordination of IBM customer executive conferences and multi-million-dollar sales recognition events.

Identified as a “High Potential” employee, he was placed on a planned career development path. Positions managing management communications, internal communications, press relations, broadcasting and film and television production followed.
While managing IBM’s network-standard TV studios, he co-directed Here I Am an IBM-sponsored documentary on the Special Olympics that won the White House Award for Disability Communications and the Gold Medal at the New York International Film Festival.
During this period, he was profiled twice in the national professional publication PR Magazine.

• Promoted to the company’s corporate staff at World Headquarters in Armonk, New York, Roger ended his IBM career having responsibility for the corporate brand, winning top national honors for its print and radio corporate advertising campaigns, and for the company’s Gallery of Science and Art in Manhattan, the third most frequently visited exhibition space in the city surpassed only by the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in terms of the number of visitors.

Fortune Brands, Inc. (Formerly American Brands Inc.)

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Member of the International Association of Press Photographers (IAPP).

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Member of the Florida Writers Association

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After 20 years with IBM, he was head-hunted to join the corporate staff of Fortune Brands, a holding company then headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut. At that time the corporation managed more than 100 subsidiaries and 12 of the world’s best-known brand names in golf (Titleist, Foot-Joy and Cobra), office products (ACCO, Swingline, and DayTimers), distilled spirits (Jim Beam, Absolute Vodka) and tobacco (Lucky Strike, Pall Mall, Benson & Hedges, and Hamlet cigars).

• Named Corporate Director of Communications he was the corporation’s primary spokesperson, managed corporate internal and external communications, wrote speeches for the company’s Chairman and President, and provided communications advice and counsel to the CEOs of the corporation’s major subsidiaries.

He oversaw the subsidiaries’ communication strategies and acted as sole media spokesperson for those with critically sensitive operations in tobacco and distilled spirits. He was a member of the Corporate Crisis Management Committee.

He launched the company’s first corporate website; print and digital publications targeted at financial analysts; and took over the writing, editing and production of the company’s 300,000-circulation annual report, reducing costs 60% by moving print production and distribution to Canada.
During this time, he continued to win national recognition including a national Gold Quill award from the International Association of Business Communicators.

Community Relations
Throughout his corporate career in the U.S., Roger was an active volunteer in several professional and community organizations. He was elected Chairman of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (now the Alliance for Audited Media), an advertising watchdog organization that has more than 5,000 advertising agency, publisher and advertiser members in the US and Canada.
He served on the boards of the Stamford Orchestra, the Fairfield Orchestra, and the Silvermine School of Art, all in Connecticut.

Post Corporate
Roger retired from the corporate world and moved to Naples, Florida where he opened The Weatherburn Gallery. Over the next decade it became the largest international fine art gallery in Southwest Florida rated by Gulfshore Connoisseur’s Guide as “one of the foremost art galleries in the state.”

He hosted the prestigious Oil Painters of America national competition.
He became Founding President of the Naples Fine Art Dealers Association and a member of the Board of the United Arts Collier.
He served as Chairman of the Permanent Collections Committee of the Von Liebig Art Center, and on the boards of the ArtsNaples World Festival, Gulfshore Playhouse, and Opera Naples, where he served as a member of the Executive Committee and helped raise millions leading committees planning several annual fundraising galas and acting as Emcee at each.

He has also been very active with the 13th century, 25,000-member worldwide food and wine society the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, notably serving consecutively as a local, regional, and national Chargé de Presse and a U.S. Ambassador.

In 2006, he was elected President of the Naples Chapter. Over the next five years he created and hosted a series of particularly innovative events that helped attract an ever-increasing number of new members. By the time he stepped down as President in November 2021, his chapter had grown substantially to become the largest of 125 chapters in the United States. That month the national Chairman of the Board awarded him the highest award in the Chaîne world, the Gold Medal of Excellence, in front of a gala audience that honored him with a standing ovation.

In 2023, he was appointed an Ambassador for United Arts Collier.
He was also named Marketing and Public Relations Director and member of the board of the proposed Luciano Pavarotti Performing Arts Center in Naples, Florida, the U.S. home of the Luciano Pavarotti Foundation, the Pavarotti Museum, and the center for the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition.

Author, Lecturer, Narrator, Contributing Editor
• A lifelong writer, he is author of the novel Noble Rot as well as many travel and art features for local, regional and national magazines.

• He was the highest-rated lecturer at Florida Gulf Coast University’s Renaissance Academy for the two consecutive years he participated in the program.

• In 2013, he was the co-writer and narrator of Naples Redefined, a 30-minute documentary promoting the City of Naples, which won a 2014 Telly Award and the international Prix Émile Hermès Gold Award for creative content.

• He is a member of the Circumnavigators Club founded in 1902, and in 2015 was named Contributing Editor of The Log, the club’s international magazine, a position he still holds.

Memberships
Currently, Roger is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, the International Association of Press Photographers,
the Florida Writers Association, an Accredited Member (ABC) of the International Association of Business Communicators, and the Gulf Coast Writers Association.
He is also a contributor to the global photo agency Getty Images.