Drayton McLane

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Drayton McLane Jr.
Born (1936-07-22) July 22, 1936 (age 82)
ResidenceTemple, Texas, US
EducationBaylor University
Michigan State University
OccupationChairman of McLane Group
Net worthUS $ 2.3 billion (September 2018)[1]

Drayton McLane Jr. (born July 22, 1936) is an American billionaire businessman. He is chairman of the McLane Group, a holding company with a portfolio of various diverse enterprises. He was, until 1990, the CEO of the McLane Company, a grocery and food service warehouse, supply, and logistics firm, and was, from 1993 until 2011, the chairman and CEO of Major League Baseball's Houston Astros. On the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans, he was ranked #324 in 2015 with an estimated net worth of $2 billion.[2]

Personal history[edit]

He was born on July 22, 1936 in Cameron, Texas. His father, Drayton McLane Sr, owned a wholesale grocery distribution center. At age nine, he went to work for his father's business that had been established by his grandfather, Robert McLane, in 1894. His grandfather came from Abbeville, S.C., to Cameron, Texas, in the late 1800s and worked as a farm laborer until about 1885, when he was able to buy and build a small retail grocery and in 1894 went into the wholesale grocery business in a small way. McLane Jr. spent most Saturdays and summers during his teen years sweeping floors and learning various aspects of the wholesale grocery business. He graduated from C.H. Yoe High School in Cameron in 1954.

He earned his undergraduate degree at Baylor University in 1958 and his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in marketing at Michigan State University in 1959. After graduation, McLane returned home to work for his father. For the first 18 months, he worked the second (night) shift loading trucks. Three years later he moved into management as vice president of purchasing. He then served 14 years as general manager of operations. He became president and CEO of McLane Company in 1978 and chairman in 1992.

During his years with the company, McLane assisted his father in building an effective grocery distribution network that served convenience stores, supermarkets, and the fast-food industry nationwide. He used computer-based technology to enhance the distribution system. He was largely responsible for expanding the family business from a $3 million-a-year operation into a $19 billion enterprise.[3]

As President and CEO of McLane Company from 1965 to 1994, he added 16 distribution facilities across the US. During that time the company experienced an average yearly sales growth of 30%. During those years, Drayton Jr. served as President of the Texas Wholesale Grocers Association (1970–1971) and Chairman of the National American Wholesale Grocers Association (1986–1988).[4]

He sold the family business to tennis partner Sam Walton for cash and Wal-Mart shares in 1990. He invested much of the profits in pro baseball's Houston Astros. He continued as chairman of McLane Co. and was named vice chairman of Wal-Mart Corporation. In 1993, he resigned both of these positions in order to devote his full-time as Chairman of McLane Group, which is a holding company founded in 1992.

Owner of Houston Astros[edit]

From the time he purchased the team in 1993 to 2005, the Astros ranked fifth in the Majors and second in the National League in winning percentage (.543), but never won a World Series. The Astros, originally the Colt 45's, were founded in 1962. They won their first World Series in 2017 (2017 World Series). [5]

Up until 2017, the Astros 2005 season was the most successful season on the field for the Houston franchise. Winning the National League Pennant to advance to the World Series, Houston hosted the first World Series game ever played in the State of Texas. However, the Astros, who had rallied from a losing record earlier in the season, were swept by the Chicago White Sox in four games, granting the White Sox its first championship in 88 years.

McLane announced in November 21, 2010, that the Astros franchise was for sale. A recent regional television deal puts the Astros on a similar footing as other National League teams, and should help with the income side of this transaction. McLane said the sale was for "family" reasons, and he was joined in the announcement by his two adult sons, Drayton III and Denton. It was sold on Nov 17th, 2011 for $610 million. Since the sale, Drayton has been sued by the purchaser, Jim Crane, for breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation or omission, and civil conspiracy.[6][7]

McLane Group[edit]

McLane devotes his time to McLane Group,[8] the family holding company for these corporations:

  • Sports in Action
  • Dave Campbell's Texas Football
  • McLane Intelligent Solutions
  • McLane Technology Partners
  • McLane Global
  • McLane Classic Foods
  • McLane Ranch, L.P.
  • RDM Commerce, Inc.

Former McLane Group Entities

  • McLane Polska
  • McLane Portugal
  • McLane Cattle, LLC
  • Leading Edge Flavors
  • McLane International
  • McLane Advanced Technologies

Volunteer activities[edit]

McLane and his wife, Elizabeth, have two adult sons, Drayton III and Denton. They are active members of First Baptist Church of Temple, where Drayton teaches Sunday School and currently serves as an active deacon.

Michigan State University Activities and Philanthropy: By the spring of 2009, the McLane family will have brought “new life” to its baseball facility through a $4 million commitment to enhance one of the most pristine environments in all of intercollegiate athletics. On September 12, 2008, the MSU Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve the naming of Drayton McLane Baseball Stadium at John H. Kobs Field.

McLane puts aside a large amount of time to serve on civic and charitable committees. Drayton Jr. currently serves as: Chairman, Texas Central Partners High Speed Rail; Vice President at Large, Boy Scouts of America National Board; Member of Board of Trustees—Baylor Scott and White Healthcare; Member of National Board of Governors—Cooper Institute of Aerobics Research; Board Director—Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University; Board of Trustees, Baylor College of Medicine; Board of Visitors, The University Cancer Foundation MD Anderson; Board Director, Happy State Bank, Member of United Way of Central Texas.

His past civic duties include: Chairman of Board of Trustees, Baylor Scott & White Healthcare; Chairman Scott and White Healthcare Board of Trustees; VP of Executive Board—Boy Scouts of America; Chairman—United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast’s Pacesetter Campaign; Member—Children’s Miracle Network National Board of Governors; Chairman of the Board—Children’s Miracle Network; Member—Texas State Board of Mental Health and Mental Retardation; Chairman of Board of Trustees—Baylor University; Chairman of Board of Regents—Baylor University; Member of the Greater Houston Partnership; Chairman of Temple (Texas) Chamber of Commerce; Trustee—South Texas College of Law. In the religious community of Temple, Texas, he has served as the chairman of the Deacon Board of First Baptist Church.[4]

He is a major benefactor of both Baylor University, where the McLane Student Life Center, the acclaimed McLane carillons, and McLane Stadium are named in his honor, and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (UMHB) in Belton, Texas, where McLane Hall honors him. He sponsors the McLane Lectures at UMHB, bringing to campus such notables as former President George H.W. Bush, Honorable Sean O'Keefe (Former NASA Administrator and Current Chancellor of Louisiana State University), and Barbara Bush, former first lady of the US.

In 2005, Scott and White Memorial Hospital in Temple honored Drayton and his wife by creating the Elizabeth and Drayton McLane Jr. Chair in Health and Wellness, a new endowed chair that is a joint appointment between the hospital and the Texas A&M University Health Science Center College of Medicine.

McLane Stadium[edit]

Baylor University announced in December 2013 that it would name its new football stadium "McLane Stadium" after "one of the most distinguished and generous alumni families in Baylor University history."

Honors and awards[edit]

  • 2014 Texas Sports Hall of Fame Lamar Hunt Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2014 Baylor University Meritorious Achievement Awards // Baylor Founders Medal
  • 2012–13 Baylor University Meritorious Achievement Awards // Baylor Founders Medal
  • 2011 Texas Transportation Hall of Fame Inductee
  • 2011 Austin College, Honorary Doctorate Degree
  • 2010 Baylor University Regent Emeritus
  • 2008 Dallas Baptist University, Russell H. Perry Free Enterprise Award
  • 2008 University of St. Thomas, Ethical Leadership Award
  • 2008 Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service
  • 2006 Field Service Award for Supply Chain Management: International Society of Logistics (SOLE)
  • 2004 Distinguished Citizen Award: Boy Scouts of America
  • 2004 Silver Buffalo Award: Boy Scouts of America
  • 2002 Distinguished Leadership Award: Leadership Houston
  • 2000 Father of the Year Award: Houston Community Partners
  • 1998 Herbert Hoover Food Industry Award:Food Distributors International
  • 1997 Honorary Doctorate: Michigan State University
  • 1997 Golden Plate Award: American Academy of Achievement
  • 1995 Texas Baseball Hall of Fame inductee
  • 1993 Master Entrepreneur of the Year: Texas A & M University
  • 1992 Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation inductee
  • 1991 W.R. White Meritorious Service Award
  • 1990 American Achiever Award: National American Wholesale Grocers Association
  • 1990 Distinguished Alumni Award: Baylor University
  • 1990 Food Distributor Man of the Year: Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith
  • 1989 Heart of Texas Council
  • 1989 Distinguished Citizen Award: Boy Scouts of America
  • 1988 Silver Antelope Award: Boy Scouts of America:
  • 1987 Entrepreneur of the Year: Arthur Young/VENTURE Magazine
  • 1985 Management Excellence and Achievement Award: the University of Georgia School of Business


  1. ^ "Forbes profile: Drayton McLane, Jr". Forbes. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  2. ^ "Robert Drayton McLane Jr". Forbes. May 21, 2015.
  3. ^ "Houston History". www.houstonhistory.com. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  4. ^ a b "McLane Group.com :: Founder". mclanegroup.com. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  5. ^ "Houston Astros Executives". houston.astros.mlb.com. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Houston Astros owner files lawsuit". Associated Press. Retrieved 2013-11-22.
  7. ^ Ozanian, Mike. "Houston Astros Sold For $610 Million". Forbes. Retrieved 2012-06-08.
  8. ^ "Home". mclanegroup.com. Retrieved 19 September 2018.