For the first time in its 45-year history, there will be no “Mr. James” in the CEO’s office of Raymond James Financial. At least that is the intended outcome of the recent announcement that Paul Reilly–a member of the Raymond James board but otherwise an outsider–will become president of the diversified holding company based in St. Petersburg, Fla. on May 1, and will succeed CEO Thomas A. James a year later.
James, 66, joined the company–started in 1964 by his father, Robert A. James–after earning degrees from Harvard University and in 1966, the Harvard Business School. In 1970, at the age of 27, he became CEO. He will remain active as full-time executive chairman of the board.
Reilly, who was raised in St. Petersburg, is currently executive chairman of Korn/Ferry International. He joined the company–a global provider of talent management solutions–as chairman and CEO in 2001. His previous positions were with KPMG International, where he ran the firm’s financial services business before being named CEO. A CPA who earned a BA and MBA from the University of Notre Dame, Reilly joined Raymond James Financials’ board of directors in 2005, and for the past year has served as chairman of the audit committee.
“Because he grew up in St. Petersburg, I have known Paul and his family since he was a young tennis player,” Thomas James said in the company’s official announcement. “Since then, he has demonstrated success in academia and international business, as well as, in recent years, as a public company CEO.”
He added: “During his three-year tenure as a board member… he has exhibited high intellect, financial acumen, good decision-making skills, objectivity, and a commitment to the values upon which Raymond James was founded.”
Reilly will continue to sit on the RJF board, and to facilitate the coming succession, will assume reporting responsibilities and special assignments. James also noted that Reilly’s history with the firm and his appreciation for its culture and values will help to ensure continuity during the transition period.
“I grew up in St. Petersburg and worked many years in the financial services industry,” Reilly said in the press release. “I have witnessed Raymond James transform from an impressive local business to one of the country’s largest securities firms. I have long had a special affinity and admiration for the company and my regard for Raymond James and its executive team has only grown during my tenure as a board member.”