ATLANTA (January 22, 2020) – Georgia Aquarium announced today, Dr. Brian Davis will helm the Western hemisphere’s largest aquarium as its new President and CEO. Davis’ appointment from Executive Vice President of Operations to President and CEO comes after Mike Leven’s retirement from the Aquarium and Steve Koonin’s elevation to Chairman of the Board of Directors in December. Former Aquarium President Joseph Handy will become President of the Georgia Aquarium Foundation and oversee the charitable arm of the Atlanta-based nonprofit, following the success of Bernie Marcus’ 90th birthday philanthropic event, ‘90 for 90.’

“Brian has been a key part of the Aquarium over the last 15 plus years,” said Steve Koonin. “This is a banner year for the Aquarium with our largest expansion opening in the fall. I’m confident in Brian’s leadership and experience to lead us into a new decade and continue the Aquarium’s reputation as one of the best aquariums in the U.S.”

Davis joined the Aquarium in 2003, prior to opening, as Director of Education before becoming Vice President of Education. He rejoined the Aquarium in 2018, after holding the position of President and CEO at Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. Davis holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Rutgers University, a Masters of Education and Ph.D. in secondary science education from Georgia State University. Davis currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

“I am honored to lead this great organization as its new President and CEO into 2020 and beyond. I’m grateful to continue the hard work our team has been doing over the last several years and build upon our ongoing success,” said Dr. Brian Davis.

Davis and his leadership team will work closely with the Board of Directors to advance the Aquarium’s global reach of aquatic preservation and research, and creating world-class, up-close animal experiences that will foster the next generation of aquatic stewards.

 For high-resolution, downloadable headshots of Dr. Davis, Mr. Koonin, and Mr. Handy, please click here.

Georgia Aquarium is a leading 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Atlanta, Ga. that is Humane Certified by American Humane and accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Georgia Aquarium is committed to working on behalf of all marine life through education, preservation, exceptional animal care, and research across the globe. Georgia Aquarium continues its mission each day to inspire, educate, and entertain its millions of guests about the aquatic biodiversity throughout the world through its hundreds of exhibits and tens of thousands of animals across its seven major galleries. For more information, visit