At an estimated net worth of $6 billion, James S. “Jim” Davis, the Chairman of New Balance (NB), is the wealthiest Greek-American ever.
A strong supporter of Donald Trump in the 2016 election, based heavily on Trump’s opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Davis was also involved in discussions about corporate tax reform, including a July meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan.
The 75-year-old Brookline, MA-born son of Greek immigrants bought the retail sports footwear company in 1972 and took the company to new heights four years later with the development of the New Balance 320 running shoe. The company has since grown, now featuring clothing and equipment for lacrosse and soccer.
Boston-based NB remains one of the few shoemakers that continues to manufacture some of its shoes in the United States. Its recent endeavor Boston Landing, is a complex for a hotel, sports facility, indoor track, and a commuter rail station. Davis’ wife, Anne, serves as NB’s Vice Chairman, having joined the company in 1977.
Davis is also a co-founder of Major League Lacrosse, which was founded in 1999, debuted in 2001, and in 2015 averaged almost 4400 fans per live game. The league, spanning the United States’ Eastern seaboard, consists of eight teams: Atlanta Blaze, Boston Cannons, Charlotte Hounds, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Denver Outlaws (its only Western team) Florida Launch, New York Lizards, Ohio Machine (its only Midwestern team), and Rochester Rattlers.
Davis’ Bloomberg business profile notes that “he served as Chief Executive Officer of New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. until April 17, 2007. From 1965 to 1970, he served at LFE Company. From 1970 to 1972, he served as Marketing Manager of Applied Geo Data Systems Division of Techven Associates Inc. of Cambridge, MA. He served as a Sales Engineer at L.F.E. Corp. of Waltham, MA. He cofounded a private business in real estate acquisition and management. Besides being actively involved in New Balance, he also served the industry as a whole. He serves as Chairman of New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. He served as Unit Chairman and Chairman of Middlebury College. He serves on the Board of Directors of Citizen’s Bank in Providence, RI. He serves as a Trustee of TD Banknorth Garden. He served as a Director of Middlebury College. Mr. Davis served as a Director of Citizens Bank, N.A. and Citizens Financial Group, Inc. He served as a Trustee Emeritus of Middlebury College. He served as a Member of Board of Advisors of Vesdia Corporation. Mr. Davis also serves on a number of nonprofit boards including the Children’s Museum in Boston and the Sports Museum of New England. He is a Board Member of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. He serves on the boards of the International Athletic Footwear & Apparel Manufacturers Association and the Two/Ten Foundation, Inc. He is a Member of the Athletic Footwear Council. He serves on the board of the Monterey Institute of International Studies that specializes in international studies and language. He is a Trustee at Newbury College. He was a Trustee of Worcester Academy in Worcester, MA. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Rubber and Plastic Footwear Manufacturers Association. He serves on the Industry Sector Advisory Committee (ISAC) on footwear, leather and leather products as well as the Industry Policy Advisory Committee (IPAC) which is the trade advisory committee to the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. The National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) inducted him into the ‘NSGA Hall of Fame’ in July 1997, Inc. Magazine which named him New England Entrepreneur of the Year in 1995 and Business Week magazine, which named him among the nation’s top 10 entrepreneurs of 1993. He was also awarded several Honorary Doctorate degrees including one from his alma mater. He graduated from Middlebury (VT) College in 1966 with a degree in Biology/Chemistry.”
Last spring, Boston Magazine reported on Davis’ impact on the Boston landscape: ”Davis is now creating an entirely new neighborhood, dubbed Boston Landing, on the Allston–Brighton line. He started with a new world headquarters for New Balance and a practice facility for the Bruins, but that was just the beginning for his firm’s NB Development Group, which last autumn broke ground on a Celtics practice center and a separate 295-unit residential complex. A new commuter rail station, funded by New Balance, will begin shuttling passengers on the Framingham/Worcester Line. Is Davis finished at Boston Landing? Not even close. Keep an eye out for a future office building, a boutique hotel, a sports complex, and other amenities planned for Boston’s new ’wellness district.’”