Former St. Petersburg mayor Rick Baker is leaving his USF administrative post to become president of The Edwards Group, where he will lead a group of companies involved in commercial real estate, hotels and entertainment.
Baker has been serving as vice president of economic development at the University of South Florida, where he was charged with finding the school business partnerships, especially research and development companies.
The Edwards Group is owned by St. Petersburg businessman and philanthropist Bill Edwards, owner of Mortgage Investors Corp., who has taken on several renovation projects in the city, including the Mahaffey Theater, BayWalk and Royal Theater.
Baker will leave USF to join The Edwards Group in January.
As mayor from 2001 to 2010, Baker led major business and community improvements in St. Petersburg from the historic redevelopment of midtown to the rebirth of downtown. The city charter prohibited him from running for a third term.