His main responsibility will be for attracting commercial organisations to work with university scientists on future graphene applications.
"I am delighted to be joining The University of Manchester - the home of graphene," said Baker.
"Through the National Graphene Institute, I am excited by the potential and challenge that graphene can provide for future products and capabilities and look forward to developing the collaborations and partnerships across academia and industry to exploit these future opportunities."
He has joined Manchester from BAE Systems, where he was Vice-President of Technology Collaboration Programmes and was responsible for the BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centres (ATC) and the BAE Systems corporate technology programme.
"We are delighted to welcome James to this important role at the NGI," said Professor Colin Bailey, Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences. "His wealth of experience and knowledge will be invaluable in attracting major commercial organisations to partner with the University."