Baird said: "I'm very surprised. We thought John Collins was going to be the next manager but we were kept in the dark."
Hodgson has been off the Premier League scene since Blackburn axed him in November 1998.
But apart from managing Finland, he led Switzerland to both the 1994 World Cup finals and the Euro '96 finals. Hodgson turned down an offer from Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti to return to the Italian giants this term.