John S. Middleton
Middleton in 2023
CitizenshipUnited States
EducationAmherst College (B.A.)
Harvard Business School (MBA)
SpouseLeigh Middleton

John S. Middleton is an American businessperson and philanthropist. He is the managing partner and principal owner of the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball. He purchased a minority stake in 1994 and increased his ownership to 48 percent by 2014. He became the Phillies' control person in 2016.

Early life, education and family

The Middleton family descends from John Middleton, who, in 1857, founded John Middleton Co., a Philadelphia retail tobacco shop that evolved into a manufacturer and marketer of pipe tobacco and cigars.[1]

Middleton graduated from the Haverford School in 1973.[2] He was a wrestler at Amherst College from where he graduated magna cum laude in 1977 with his bachelor's degree in economics.[3] He then attended Harvard Business School, graduating in 1979 with his Master of Business Administration.[4]

Middleton is married to Leigh Middleton, and they have two children, Frances[5] "Francie" Fields, and film and television producer John Powers Middleton.[6]


Middleton in 2019

Middleton began working at his family's cigar business at age 16.[7] After graduating from Harvard Business School, he returned home to work at John Middleton Inc. where his father put him on the company's board. Under Middleton, the company bought four tobacco brands from R.J. Reynolds in 1987, transforming the company into a major corporate interest in the pipe tobacco industry, and facilitating the subsequent growth of its packaged-cigar business.[7]

In 2003, Middleton bought all shares in the family company from his mother and sisters, for about $200 million.[8] In 2007, Middleton sold John Middleton Co. to Altria, the parent of Phillip Morris USA, for $2.9 billion.[9] In 2015, litigation by his sister, Anna Nupson, supported by their sister, Lucia Hughes, disputing declared company assets of 2003, ensued.[8] Through a mediator, the case was settled for $22 million in February 2018.[10] Subsequently, Nupson filed a malpractice lawsuit, on July 15, 2020, with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleging ethical misconduct by Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis and attorney Bruce A. Rosenfield, who had represented her in the suit against her brother.[11]

Middleton is the president of Bradford Holdings, the parent company whose subsidiaries have included John Middleton Inc., Double Play Inc. (the corporate entity that holds his stake in the Phillies) and McIntosh Inns.[2]

Philadelphia Phillies

Middleton bought a 15 percent stake in the Phillies for $18 million in 1994.[12] He has been elected chairman of its partners’ Advisory Board annually since 1998.

When Phillies' chairman David Montgomery took a medical leave of absence in 2014, Middleton assumed a more active role, overseeing on-field and business performance, and increased his shareholding to 48 percent.[13] In 2015, Middleton became the public face of the Phillies' ownership group. Middleton committed that the Phillies would have a greater focus on analytics, which influenced the hiring of Andy MacPhail as president, and Matt Klentak as general manager.[14][15][16]

At the November 2016 MLB owners’ meeting, Middleton was elected the Phillies’ control person by the thirty clubs, making him the primary person accountable to the commissioner's office for the Phillies' operations and compliance with MLB rules.[17][12]


Middleton and his wife, Leigh, share philanthropic involvement in several organizations,[18] including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Penn Medicine,[19] the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church,[20] the Academy of Natural Sciences, and Project HOME.[21]

In 2012, the Middletons announced a gift of more than $16.2 million to the Philadelphia School District, Philadelphia Youth Network, Philadelphia Academies and Drexel University for career and technical education.[22]

In 2013, the Middletons pledged $30 million to Project HOME[19] in an effort to end chronic homelessness by doubling the number of its apartments for homeless people, opening a new medical center and leveraging additional public and private funds.[23]

The Middletons received the 2013 Philadelphia Award, in 2014, for their philanthropic works in the Philadelphia area, directed towards education, homelessness, and workforce development projects.[24][25]

Middleton serves as a member of the board of trustees of Amherst College, which awarded him its Medal for Eminent Service in 2004, in recognition of his dedication to the college.[4]


  1. ^ "Philadelphia Award shines a light on Middletons' philanthropy". philly-archives. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Area cigar firm fetches $2.9 billion Middleton has been puffin' since 1856". philly-archives. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  3. ^ "Bill Conlin - Phils' part-owner has money to burn". philly-archives. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "John S. Middleton '77". Amherst College. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  5. ^ "John S. Middleton". Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  6. ^ Narducci, Marc (May 7, 2020). "Children of Phillies managing partner John Middleton contribute to PHL COVID-19 Fund". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Can John Middleton Bring Back the Phillies?". Philadelphia Magazine. May 15, 2016. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Judge raps Phillies co-owner John Middleton over 'concealment' of document in family dispute". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  9. ^ "John Middleton". Forbes. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  10. ^ "Phillies' co-owner John Middleton settles with sister for $22M". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  11. ^ "Sister of Philadelphia Phillies owner alleges legal malpractice against firm which represented her in family inheritance battle". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  12. ^ a b "John Middleton designated as Phillies' control person by MLB". CSN Philly. November 17, 2016. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  13. ^ "Report: Middleton Owns 48%, Montgomery to Return?". October 3, 2014. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  14. ^ "With Phillies, Klentak will try to blend best of old and new worlds". PhillyVoice. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  15. ^ "Phillies introduce Andy MacPhail in Monday press conference". Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  16. ^ "Phillies hire ex-Google analyst to head baseball research & development". Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  17. ^ "John Middleton named Phillies' control person". Major League Baseball. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  18. ^ "Meet the Middletons: Philadelphia's Next Big Power Couple in Philanthropy". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  19. ^ a b "If you ever wondered how Phillies owner John S. Middleton made his $2.9 billion..." CSN Philly. May 7, 2014. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  20. ^ "The Middleton Center". Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  21. ^ Mcquade, Dan (May 8, 2014). "New York Times Plays Up Project HOME's Success". Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  22. ^ Center, Foundation. "Philadelphia School District, Educational Groups to Receive $16.2 Million". Philanthropy News Digest (PND). Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  23. ^ Hurdle, Jon (May 7, 2014). "Philadelphia's Success in Helping the Homeless Gets a Philanthropic Boost". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  24. ^ "Phillies Co-Owner, Wife Receive Philadelphia Award | News | Philadelphia Magazine". Philadelphia Magazine. March 24, 2014. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  25. ^ "Middletons to receive the Philadelphia Award". Retrieved November 11, 2016.