John W. Henry
A portrait shot of a merry-looking middle-aged Caucasian male (John W. Henry) looking straight ahead. He has short greying hair, and is wearing a blue-striped shirt with the top button open. In the background is a baseball stadium.
Henry in 2008
Owner of Boston Red Sox
Assumed office
December 20, 2001
Preceded byJohn Harrington
Owner of Liverpool Football Club
Assumed office
October 15, 2010
Preceded byTom Hicks and
George N. Gillett Jr.
Personal details
Born
John William Henry II

(1949-09-13) September 13, 1949 (age 74)
Quincy, Illinois, U.S.
Spouses
Mai K H Zimbleman
(m. 1980⁠–⁠1985)
Peggy Sue Henry
(m. 1993⁠–⁠2008)
Linda Pizzuti
(m. 2009)
Children3[1]
Alma materVictor Valley High School
Victor Valley College
University of California
ProfessionBusinessman

John William Henry II (born September 13, 1949)[2] is an American businessman and the founder of John W. Henry & Company, an investment management firm. He is the principal owner of Liverpool Football Club, the Boston Red Sox, the Pittsburgh Penguins, The Boston Globe, and co-owner of RFK Racing. As of August 2023, Forbes estimated his net worth to be US$4 billion.[3]

Early life and education

Henry was born on September 13, 1949, in Quincy, Illinois.[2] His parents were soybean farmers, and he split his time growing up between Illinois and Arkansas.

At age 15, his asthmatic condition prompted his family to move to Apple Valley, California,[4] where Henry attended and graduated from Victor Valley High School in Victorville, California.[5]

Henry then attended but did not graduate from four separate colleges and universities, Victor Valley College,[6] and then University of California, Riverside, University of California, Irvine, and UCLA, where he majored in philosophy.

He attributes not graduating to the time he spent performing and touring with two bands, Elysian Fields and Hillary.[7][8]

Career

Henry started trading corn and soybean futures to learn the basics of hedging the price risk of holding an inventory of these commodities, whether in storage or out in the field. In 1976, a commodities broker at Reynolds Securities asked him to advise other farmers, but he declined. After spending a summer in Norway with his first wife, Mai, Henry developed a mechanical trend following method for managing a futures trading account. He tested his trend-reversal method—which was never out of the market but always held a position (either long or short) in every one of the markets in the account's "basket" of commodities—"using his own money," according to his marketing materials from 1983.

When that test proved successful, he founded John W. Henry & Company in 1981,[9] opened a small office across the street from the airport in Irvine, California, and began marketing his management to the largest commodity brokerage firms in America. That proved so successful by 1983 that he moved to considerably larger quarters at Fashion Island in Newport Beach. In 1989, Henry moved to Westport, Connecticut. Two years later, Henry established a second office in Boca Raton.[10]

JWH

JWH was established in 1981 and began taking retail clients in 1982. The firm's management methods make mechanical, non-discretionary trading decisions in response to systematic determinations of reversals in each market's direction, with the explicit intention of precluding not only human emotion, but also any subjective evaluation of factors outside of price behavior, such as the fundamentals, to trigger each decision to be long or short each market, or not.

In March 2006, Boston magazine estimated Henry's net worth at $1.1 billion, but also reported that his firm had experienced recent difficulties.[11]

On November 9, 2012, the firm announced that it would stop managing clients' money by December 31, 2012, and Henry confirmed that total assets under the firm's management had fallen from $2.5 billion in 2006 to less than $100 million as of late 2012.[12][13]

Sports ownership

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Henry grew up a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, especially their star Stan Musial. After acquiring his fortune, his first foray into professional sports was in purchasing a Minor League Baseball team, the Tucson Toros of the Pacific Coast League, in 1989.[14] He was also one of the founders of the Senior Professional Baseball Association, a winter league in Florida composed of retired major league players.

Henry co-owned the winning team in the 1989–90 season, the West Palm Beach Tropics, managed by Dick Williams, former manager of the Boston Red Sox's 1967 team, known as the "Impossible Dream" team.

In 1990, Henry sold his interest in the team, and the league went out of business the following year. The same year, he negotiated to purchase the Orlando Magic, a National Basketball Association team. He also was briefly the lead general for the Colorado Rockies, a Major League Baseball expansion team, and headed a group attempting to acquire the National Hockey League's expansion team in Florida, which was ultimately awarded to Phil and Tony Esposito, who create the Tampa Bay Lightning.[15][16] Henry subsequently negotiated to buy the Miami Heat and later the New Jersey Nets.

Henry entered Major League Baseball with his purchase of a small interest in the New York Yankees in 1991. Henry became the sole owner of the Florida Marlins in 1999, purchasing the club from Wayne Huizenga for a reported $158 million. In January 2002, Henry sold the Marlins in a multi-franchise deal to Jeffrey Loria, then owner of the Montreal Expos, which is now the Washington Nationals.

Fenway Sports Group

Main article: Fenway Sports Group

In 2001, Henry partnered with Tom Werner, The New York Times Company, and other investors to found New England Sports Ventures (NESV) to bid on ownership of the Boston Red Sox. The group successfully purchased the Red Sox prior to the 2002 season from Yawkey Trust headed by John Harrington. Henry was now principal owner of the Red Sox, with Werner as chairman. In addition to ownership of the Red Sox, the company has continued to expand, and is now majority owner of English Football club Liverpool F.C., the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New England Sports Network, Fenway Park, Fenway Sports Management, and other assets.

In 2009, the company made its first foray into European sports with an unsuccessful bid for the French Ligue 1 club Olympique de Marseille.[17]

NESV formally announced its name change to Fenway Sports Group in March 2011.[18]

Boston Red Sox

Further information: Boston Red Sox

Henry, as principal owner and Werner, as chairman, assembled a front office team headed up by Larry Lucchino with the express goal of "breaking the Curse of the Bambino." He also hired baseball sabermetrics pioneer Bill James, whose work became widely known following the publication of Moneyball in 2003. Henry accomplished his championship goal in the 2004 World Series, against his former childhood favorite Cardinals, and beat the Cardinals again in 2013.

The team won the 2007 World Series against a franchise with which Henry had pre-expansion involvement, the Rockies, and the 2018 World Series against the Dodgers. Henry is also responsible for saving Fenway Park from the wrecking ball.[citation needed] The previous Red Sox owners had planned on building a new Fenway Park next door, but Henry chose to keep and renovate (including new seats over the Green Monster) the current Fenway Park, which celebrated its centennial in 2012.

In August 2017, Henry said the team would lead a campaign to change the name of Yawkey Way, a section of Boston where Fenway Park is located. The Red Sox had been the last team in Major League Baseball to integrate, and Henry said, "I am still haunted by what went on here a long time before we arrived."[19] The change was approved by the City of Boston in April 2018, and the name reverted to Jersey Street in May 2018.[20]

Liverpool Football Club

In October 2010 the Fenway Sports Group took over Liverpool F.C. The UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations may have been a factor in the decision.[clarification needed][21] The previous owners, Tom Hicks and George N. Gillett, Jr., had become extremely unpopular among Liverpool fans for their failure to deliver on the promise that no debt would be placed onto the club, and the proposal of Liverpool leaving Anfield as disrespectful treatment of its manager and front office[22][23][24] and for their allegedly misleading statements about planned and past investment in players.[25][26]

After losing around £154 million on the pressured sale of their debt-ridden club, Hicks and Gillett announced that they would sue co-owners and creditors for at least $1.6 billion for the "extraordinary swindle" they suffered. In January 2013, Hicks and Gillett had lost a Court of Appeal case and agreed to drop the suit.[27][28]

On February 26, 2012, Liverpool won the 2012 Football League Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, beating Cardiff City 3–2 on penalties after the game finished 1–1 after 90 minutes and 2–2 after extra time. This was Liverpool's first trophy since the 2006 FA Cup Final win over West Ham United on May 13, 2006, at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. In May 2012 he made a controversial decision by firing manager and club icon Kenny Dalglish citing the club's poor league results. This was regarded as a poor decision by some football pundits such as Dalglish's friend Alan Hansen, given Dalglish's success in lifting the club from four points above the relegation zone to a cup win.[29][30] In July 2012, after successfully persuading Brendan Rodgers to become the new manager,[31]

Henry attributed parting company with Dalglish as being unrelated to failing to win the FA Cup or the Suarez case,[32]), but a product of the club's poor league performance in the second half of the 2011–12 season.[33]

Rodgers almost took Liverpool to their first Premier League title in over 20 years during the 2013–14 season; however, poor performances in the subsequent season and a bad start to the 2015–16 season saw Henry sack Brendan Rodgers as Liverpool manager on October 4, 2015.[34] On October 8, 2015, Henry appointed Jürgen Klopp as the new manager of Liverpool F.C.[35] The move was praised by Liverpool supporters and seen as a show of Henry's ambition for the club.[36] Klopp led Liverpool to two finals during the 2015–16 season (the League Cup and the Europa League). In 2018 Liverpool reached the Champions League final for the first time in 11 years. In 2019 Liverpool reached the Champions League Final for the second consecutive year and won it, beating fellow English club Tottenham Hotspur, 2–0. Liverpool went on to win the Premier League title in the 2019–20 season; Liverpool's first league title in 30 years, and their first since the Premier League was formed.

In April 2021, Liverpool were announced as a founding member of the European Super League, which would have effectively ended the pyramid system of European football and placed Liverpool in a closed league without prospects for meritocratic relegation and promotion. Liverpool and the five other English clubs involved backed out within two days after a strong backlash. This prompted Henry to issue an official apology to Liverpool fans, taking responsibility for the events that had occurred.[37][38]

NASCAR

In 2007, Henry's Fenway Sports Group bought a 50% stake in Jack Roush's Roush Racing stock car racing team.[39] Driver Matt Kenseth won the Auto Club 500 at the California Speedway in February 2007 marking Henry's first win as an owner. In February 2009 the team won their first Daytona 500 with Matt Kenseth. Henry is currently listed as the owner of the #17 Ford driven by NASCAR Cup Series driver Chris Buescher.

iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations

In September 2004 Henry and David Kaemmer founded iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations for developing a racing simulation service aimed at both real-world racers and racing simulator enthusiasts. The service was launched in August 2008.

Newspaper ownership

In the predawn hours of August 3, 2013, both The Boston Globe and The New York Times carried stories on their web sites reporting that Henry had agreed to purchase the former along with the Telegram & Gazette newspaper of Worcester, Massachusetts, and related New England media properties for $70 million in cash from The New York Times Company, which paid $1.1 billion for The Globe in 1993.[40] The Globe's story described Henry as "a personally shy businessman with a history of bold bets."[40] The Times story quoted Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy as confirming the sale deal.[41]

The stories noted that Henry had initially been among a group of partners who had joined in bidding on The Globe properties, but ended up agreeing to acquire them individually. However, The Times story reported him saying: "In coming days there will be announcements concerning those joining me in this community commitment and effort."[41]

After the announcement, the ownership of The San Diego Union-Tribune (then known as "U-T San Diego") alleged that it had outbid Henry for The Globe but that the management of The Times Company had not fairly handled the process, to the detriment of Times Company shareholders.[42]

In 2014, Henry sold the Worcester Telegram & Gazette to Halifax Media Group, which had previously purchased 16 former New York Times Company newspapers in 2011.[43]

Harvard Book Store

In December 2021, Henry became an investor and owner of Harvard Book Store, an independent book store based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[44]

Awards and honors

Personal life

Henry enjoys playing baseball simulation games, including Out of the Park Baseball.[45]

In popular culture

Further information: Moneyball (film)

Henry was briefly portrayed by Arliss Howard in the 2011 film Moneyball, which follows Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane and his quest to build a winning team in 2002. Towards the end of the film, Beane travels to Boston's Fenway Park where he meets with Henry, who wants Beane to become the new GM of the Red Sox.

The film depicts Beane turning down a five-year, $12.5 million contract with the Boston Red Sox and returning to the Oakland Athletics, but adds that the Red Sox, despite failing to hire Beane, implemented many of his "Moneyball" ideas and went on to win the 2004 World Series, marking the first Red Sox championship in 86 years.[46]

References

  1. ^ "On Top of the Globe". Boston. No. June 2017. p. 63. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "John Henry". IMDb. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  3. ^ "John Henry". Forbes. Retrieved August 10, 2023.
  4. ^ "John Henry – Red Sox Owner". Awesome Stories. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  5. ^ Steve Wulf (September 26, 2011). "How John Henry built his sports empire". ESPN. ESPN The Magazine. Retrieved March 8, 2022.
  6. ^ "John W. Henry is featured in Financial World Wall Street 100 Article at". Streetstories.com. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  7. ^ "John W. Henry: A self-made millionaire who brought glory days back to Boston Red Sox". Goal.com. October 6, 2010. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  8. ^ Ross, Casey; Borchers, Callum. "John W. Henry, soft-spoken businessman with an appetite for risk". The Boston Globe. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  9. ^ "TEN Facts about John W Henry and NESV". live4liverpool.com. October 6, 2010. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  10. ^ "John W. Henry's House in Boca Raton, FL". Celebrity House Gossip. May 26, 2011. Archived from the original on April 13, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  11. ^ "50 Wealthiest Bostonians". Boston Magazine. March 2006. Archived from the original on July 3, 2007 – via web.archive.org.
  12. ^ Zuckerman, Gregory (November 13, 2012). "Henry to Exit Money Game". Wall Street Journal.
  13. ^ "Curse Of The Bambino On The Trading Floor?". News: Analysis & Commentary. BusinessWeek. March 20, 2006. Archived from the original on March 17, 2006. Retrieved August 11, 2006.
  14. ^ "Liverpool future looks bright under John W Henry". October 13, 2011. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  15. ^ Wulf, Steve (September 26, 2011). "The (dis)passion of John Henry". ESPN.
  16. ^ Gave, Keith (December 12, 1990). "Poor decisions ruined St. Petersburg's NHL bid". The Baltimore Sun.
  17. ^ "Liverpool FC: Fans go wild as club gets new owner John W. Henry after days of turmoil". Daily Mirror. October 16, 2010.
  18. ^ "New England Sports Ventures Changes Name To Fenway Sports Group". Sports Business Journal. March 22, 2011. Retrieved March 8, 2022.
  19. ^ Chavez, Chris (August 17, 2017). "John Henry Says Red Sox Will Lead Effort To Re-Name Yawkey Way". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 18, 2017.
  20. ^ "Yawkey Way signs come down outside Fenway Park". Boston.com. AP. May 3, 2018. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  21. ^ "Revealed: how new Liverpool owner's wife pestered her husband to buy". The Independent. October 18, 2010. Archived from the original on June 14, 2022. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  22. ^ "Hicks and Gillett 'relaxed' about debt". Independent.co.uk. October 23, 2011. Archived from the original on June 14, 2022. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  23. ^ "The Times & The Sunday Times". Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  24. ^ Conn, David (June 5, 2009). "No new stadium. A huge debt. Despite their promises, Hicks and Gillett have 'done a Glazers' – David Conn". The Guardian. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  25. ^ Echo, Liverpool (May 28, 2010). "Tom Hicks – You couldn't make it up (well actually, Tom can)". Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  26. ^ "Football News – all the latest breaking football stories – Mirror Online". www.mirrorfootball.co.uk. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  27. ^ Sachin Nakran (January 11, 2013). "Tom Hicks and George Gillett drop allegations against Liverpool directors". The Guardian.
  28. ^ "NESV complete Reds takeover". Sky Sports. October 15, 2010.
  29. ^ Hansen, Alan (May 17, 2012). "Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool sacking unfair – Alan Hansen". BBC Sport. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  30. ^ George Ankers (May 18, 2012). "Dalglish's demise the latest misjudgement in FSG's Liverpool reign of error". Goal.com.
  31. ^ "Brendan Rodgers will not be set Champions League qualification target". The Guardian. London. July 20, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  32. ^ "Sir Alex Ferguson says Suárez/Evra case contributed to Dalglish exit". The Guardian. London. July 20, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  33. ^ James Pearce (July 26, 2012). "Liverpool FC principal owner John W Henry says Kenny Dalglish would have been sacked even if the club had won the FA Cup". Liverpool Echo.
  34. ^ "Brendan Rodgers: Why Liverpool sacked their manager". BBC Sport. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  35. ^ "Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp confirmed as manager on £15m Anfield deal". Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  36. ^ "Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp appointment a real show of ambition from FSG". This Is Anfield. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  37. ^ "Liverpool owner apologises to fans for ESL". BBC Sport. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  38. ^ "John W Henry's message to Liverpool supporters". Liverpool F.C. April 21, 2021. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  39. ^ "Red Sox owner buys 50% stake in Roush Racing". Boston Globe. February 10, 2007.
  40. ^ a b Healy, Beth (August 3, 2013). "Red Sox owner in deal to purchase Globe". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on August 6, 2013. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  41. ^ a b Haughney, Christine (August 3, 2013). "New York Times Company Sells Boston Globe". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  42. ^ "San Diego bidder questions Globe buy". Boston Herald. August 4, 2013. Retrieved March 8, 2022.
  43. ^ Sutner, Shaun (May 22, 2014). "Halifax Media of Florida to buy Telegram & Gazette". Telegram & Gazette. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  44. ^ Timeout:Boston:July 15th, 2022:Boston:News:Harvard Book Store is coming to Boston
  45. ^ "Out of the Park Baseball 16: Manager Mode Details and More". operationsports.com. February 13, 2015. Archived from the original on August 25, 2016. Retrieved February 23, 2015.
  46. ^ "Moneyball script at IMSDb". IMSDB. IMDB. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
Preceded byJRY Trust Owner of the Boston Red Sox December 20, 2001 – present(via Fenway Sports Group) Succeeded byincumbent