Thomas A. James, chairman of Raymond James Financial, is a recipient of the 2013 Harvard Business School Alumni Achievement Award, the school’s highest honor. The award recognizes alumni for their contributions to their companies and communities while upholding the highest standards and values.
James earned his MBA as a Baker Scholar in 1966 and then joined his father's firm, Raymond James Financial. He soon became CEO and held that position for the next 40 years. James helped make the company a leading global financial services firm. In the 1970s, RJF expanded into brokerage offices across the country, working with affiliates that acted as independent contractors. In 1983, the firm went public, and today RJF is a diversified financial services holding company with more than 2,500 offices around the world, 14,000 associates, and a market capitalization of $5.1 billion.
Through RJF and his own personal philanthropy, James has supported education, the arts, disadvantaged youth, and cultural institutions within his local community as well as nationally. Earlier this year, Eckerd College, opened the James Center for Molecular and Life Sciences. As a trustee of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, James has funded numerous programs that encourage youth to get involved in the sport. And as board chair of the Dali Museum, he led the effort to build a new museum that opened in January 2011.
In addition to James, this year’s award recipients include Joanna M. Jacobson, MBA 1987, co-founder and managing partner of Strategic Grant Partners; André R. Jakurski, MBA 1973, founding partner and managing director of JGP Asset Management; Thai Lee, MBA 1985, president & CEO of SHI International; and Roger W. Sant, MBA 1960, co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of The AES Corporation. The school has selected a number of outstanding men and women to receive the Alumni Achievement Award since 1968.