The Academy of Natural Sciences announced today that it has named George W. Gephart Jr., a Philadelphia-area business and nonprofit executive, as its new president and chief executive officer.

Gephart, 57, of Newtown Square, starts his job Aug. 9, as the museum and research institution begins planning for its bicentennial in 2012.

His appointment was approved by the museum's Board of Trustees at its meeting Tuesday afternoon, following a national search conducted by the executive search firm Spencer Stuart. He replaces William Y. Brown, who resigned in January to accept the CEO position at Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Mass.

Gephart has more than 25 years of experience in the investment business and a long record of nonprofit service in the Philadelphia area. He was previously a senior managing director at 1838 Investment Advisors of Philadelphia, and before that worked for firms in New York and Baltimore.

In 2005 he founded George Gephart Interview Coaching of Stafford, Pa., which focused on coaching high school and college students on how to improve communication skills.

He is currently chairman of the board of Main Line Health System, a position he will retain, according to an Academy spokesperson. Main Line includes six acute care and specialty facilities: Bryn Mawr Hospital, Lankenau Hospital, Paoli Hospital, Riddle Hospital, Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital, and Mirmont Treatment Center.

Gephart also has served on boards for various environmental, health care, and cultural groups in the area, including The Curtis Institute of Music, The Nature Conservancy and Natural Lands Trust.

He earned a bachelor's degree in English from Yale University and a master's of business administration from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The Academy, located on Logan Circle, is the oldest natural history museum in the Americas and a prominent institution for biodiversity and environmental research.