James Orthwein

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James Busch Orthwein (March 13, 1924 – August 15, 2008) was an American advertising executive and great-grandson of Anheuser-Busch founder Adolphus Busch. Orthwein owned the New England Patriots from 1992 to 1993.

Life and career[edit]

Orthwein graduated from the Choate School in Wallingford, Connecticut, from Washington University in St. Louis, and joined his father's advertising firm in 1947.[1] Orthwein was chairman and chief executive of the D’Arcy Advertising Company from 1970 to 1983. Orthwein took the advertising agency to the global stage merging with agencies in Detroit and London. In 1985, the St. Louis-based company then merged with Benton & Bowles of New York to form D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles.[2]

He purchased the New England Patriots from Victor Kiam, when the latter was facing bankruptcy and owed him millions. During his ownership Orthwein hired Bill Parcells as head coach and oversaw the drafting of first-overall draft pick quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who helped to return the moribund franchise to respectability. He planned to relocate the Patriots franchise to St. Louis, renaming the team the St. Louis Stallions. However, those plans were derailed when Boston paper magnate Robert Kraft, owner of Foxboro Stadium, refused to accept a buyout of the lease. Kraft used his ownership of the stadium to stage a hostile takeover, offering to pay $175 million for the Patriots franchise knowing that Orthwein no longer wanted the team if he could not move it to St. Louis. Orthwein accepted the bid.

In 1997 he held 1.6 million shares in Anheuser-Busch, more than any other company insider with the exception of Chairman and President August Busch III, who was Orthwein's first cousin.[3]

For 35 years, Orthwein was Master of Foxhounds at Bridlespur Hunt Club and he was a member of the Missouri Horseman's Hall of Fame. He helped raise more than $1-million for horse show related charities.[4]

Orthwein died of cancer at his home in Huntleigh, Missouri.[2]

Orthwein' third wife was Ruth Orthwein; they divorced in the late 1990s.

References[edit]

Preceded by
Victor Kiam
New England Patriots Principal Owner
1992–1994
Succeeded by
Robert Kraft