|Born||Robert Ralph Parsons
November 27, 1950
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Baltimore
Founder & Director,
The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation
|Net worth||US$2.3 billion (June 2015)|
Robert Parsons, better known as Bob Parsons, is an American entrepreneur, billionaire, and philanthropist. In 1997, he founded the GoDaddy group of companies, including domain name registrar GoDaddy.com, reseller registrar Wild West Domains and Blue Razor Domains. In July 2011, Parsons sold approximately 70 percent of Go Daddy to a private equity consortium and resigned his position as CEO. In June 2014, he stepped down from his position as Executive Chairman and currently serves on Go Daddy's board. Parsons owns 28 percent of the company and is its largest shareholder.
Parsons is the CEO and founder of YAM Worldwide, Inc., which is home to his entrepreneurial ventures in the fields of powersports, golf, real estate and marketing.
In 2012, Parsons and his wife Renee founded The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, which provides funding, primarily in the greater Phoenix area, to non-profit organizations. In December 2013, they joined The Giving Pledge, an initiative started by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett that requires signators to commit at least half of their fortunes to charity.
Parsons was born in Baltimore, Maryland. His family lived in Baltimore's inner city and struggled financially. Parsons has said about those days, "I've earned everything I've ever received. Very little was given to me. I've been working as long as I can remember. Whether it was delivering or selling newspapers, pumping gas, working in construction or in a factory, I've always been making my own money."
After almost flunking out of high school, Parsons enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He was assigned to the 26th Marine Regiment which was attached to and operated as part of the 1st Marine Division. In 1969, he served as a rifleman in the Delta Company of the 1st Battalion, 26th Marines, during a tour of duty in Vietnam, in the Quảng Nam Province.
He was wounded on duty, medically evacuated and spent two months at a naval hospital recovering from his wounds. As a result of his service and injury, he earned the Combat Action Ribbon, the Vietnam Gallantry Cross and the Purple Heart.
In 1984, he founded Parsons Technology in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and began selling MoneyCounts, a home accounting program. In late 1987, Parsons was able to quit his job and focus completely on selling and overseeing growth of MoneyCounts. Eventually, Parsons Technology grew to be a 1,000-employee, privately held company. On September 27, 1994, Parsons completed the sale of Parsons Technology to Intuit, Inc. for $64 million.
Parsons founded the Internet domain registrar and Web hosting company GoDaddy in 1997. In July 2011, Parsons sold approximately 70 percent of GoDaddy to a private equity consortium led by KKR & Co. L.P. and Silver Lake, and resigned his position as CEO. In June 2014, Parsons stepped down from his position as Executive Chairman. He currently serves on GoDaddy's board. Parsons owns 28 percent of the company and is its largest shareholder.
YAM Worldwide, Inc.
In 2012, Parsons founded the Scottsdale, AZ-based YAM Worldwide Inc., “home of [Parsons’] entrepreneurship operations…in the fields of power sports, golf, real estate, marketing, innovation and philanthropy.”
In 2013, Parsons acquired Martz Agency, a 25-employee public relations firm in Scottsdale, AZ.
- Go AZ Motorcycles (multi-brand dealership), Scottsdale, Arizona
- Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona
- Southern Thunder Harley-Davidson, Southaven, Mississippi
- Graceland Harley-Davidson, Memphis, Tennessee
- Blues City Harley-Davidson, Memphis, Tennessee
Parsons is also founder and CEO of Scottsdale-based Spooky Fast Customs, which creates customized motorcycle designs and fabrications.
In April 2014, Parsons announced plans to build the “world’s largest Harley-Davidson dealership” in Scottsdale.
In September 2013, Parsons purchased The Golf Club Scottsdale, a 292-acre members-only golf course, for $600,000 and undisclosed debt, and renamed it Scottsdale National Golf Club. In 2014, Parsons purchased undeveloped properties adjacent to his golf course including a 223-acre parcel for a reported $55 million, a 41-acre parcel for $5.4 million, and a smaller tract for $2.3 million. Also in 2014, Parsons announced plans to build a new clubhouse, nine-hole practice facility, and second 18-hole golf course on the property.
Parsons Xtreme Golf (PXG)
In January 2015, Parsons launched Parsons Xtreme Golf (PXG), a high-end golf club manufacturing company. The same month, professional golfer Ryan Moore used prototype PXG irons and wedges when he played in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, a PGA Tour event. PXG is expected to launch a full line of golf equipment including drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, irons, wedges and putters.
Real estate holdings
Since 2012, YAM Properties has purchased more than 675,000 square feet of commercial real estate in Arizona’s Valley of the Sun region. YAM properties include:
- Scottsdale Grayhawk Center, 147,084-square-foot retail plaza, acquired for $36.885 million
- Retail and office projects Citadelle Plaza and II Palazzo, acquired for $27.3 million
- Arrowhead Professional Center, a 71,066-square-foot office project, acquired for $13.25 million
- Retail space in two properties that total 66,983 square feet, acquired for $8.575 million
- McDowell Mountain Marketplace, an 84,087-square-foot retail center, acquired for $14.125 million
- Centerpoint on Mill, a 127,027-square-foot mixed-use development, acquired for $38.35 million
- Hayden Station, a 107,508-square-foot mixed-used development, acquired for $26.5 million
- The Cornerstone shopping center, acquired for $29 million
The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation
In 2012, Bob and Renee Parsons established the Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation. Since then, the foundation has awarded over $64 million to more than 62 charities and organizations worldwide. A third of the total money awarded has been spent in local Arizonian charities. Bob Parsons was said to have resigned his position as executive chairman at GoDaddy in order to devote more time to his other interests, among them his foundation, while Renee Parsons manages the foundation on a day-to-day basis.
They have joined Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates' Giving Pledge in 2010 and accepted to donate half their wealth to charity. Since its inception, the foundation has donated over $10 million on a yearly basis, placing it among the state's 10 biggest givers. During 2012-2014, the foundation donated over $72 million, and its assets amount to more than $9.5 million.
The foundation receives funding requests from charities through its website, and subsequently evaluates them and makes donations based on the requesting charities needs. Its main focus areas can be categorised in disaster relief, veterans and the Phoenix community. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the foundation pledged $500 thousand for Hope for Haiti and a further $4 million towards relief efforts. With regards to veterans, the Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation has supported several veterans' organizations, mainly the Semper Fi Fund, with donations exceeding $8.5 million, mostly in the form of matching donations. In or around Phoenix, Arizona, it has donated more than $8 million to UMOM and its New Day Centers, which the organization spent in part to pay off the mortgage for one of its biggest facilities. It has also donated at least $10 million to the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, helping it open its new center.
Other projects the foundation was involved with include the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, which amounted to three grants totaling $3.7 million to upgrade its laser system; the Girl Scouts through the Girl Scouts Beyond Bars program; $4 million in scholarship funds for theDream.us; a $1.5 million grant to the Phoenix Children's Hospital in support of one of its community outreach programs; $1 million towards the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center; $1.4 million for the Murphy Kids Dental Clinic; and $2 million to Circle the City, in order for the organization to launch a new primary health care center.
Elephant shooting controversy
In 2011, Parsons was denounced by animal rights and other groups for tweeting a video in which he shoots and kills an elephant in Zimbabwe. In response to the shooting, Gawker called Parsons "insane" and "ridiculous." NBC News said "It's definitely the kind of thing only a super rich CEO/founder of a privately-held company could get away with."
In response to the criticism, Parsons explained, "The tribal authorities requested that I and others like me patrol the fields before and during the harvest". He also said that by shooting leopards and elephants, he has been helping the local population. He has also stated that he believes the opposition to him only exists within small organizations who are not his customers.
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|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Bob Parsons|
- Interview with Bob Parsons (from the book 50 Interviews: Entrepreneurs Thriving in Uncertain Times)
- BobParsons.me — A blog by Go Daddy CEO and founder Bob Parsons
- GoDaddy CEO: Elephant hunts help the locals
- Bob Parsons' 16 Rules for Success in Business and Life in General !