James D. Robinson III

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

James Robinson III
James D Robinson III.jpg
James Dixon Robinson III

(1935-11-19) 19 November 1935 (age 87)
EducationWoodberry Forest School
Alma materGeorgia Institute of Technology (BS)
Harvard University (MBA)
EmployerAmerican Express

James Dixon Robinson III (born 19 November 1935) is an American businessman best known for his position as the chief executive officer of American Express Co. from 1977 until his retirement in 1993.[1]


Robinson attended Woodberry Forest School and is a 1957 graduate of Georgia Tech's School of Industrial Management[2] where he was a member of the Chi Phi fraternity.[3] He earned an MBA from Harvard in 1961.[4]

Business career[edit]

American Express[edit]

James D. Robinson III served as Chairman & CEO of the American Express Company for approximately 16 years. He held additional positions at the company prior to that. While at American Express, Robinson achieved the senior position at the company after his competitor for the position, Robert Morley, launched a thwarted hostile takeover of McGraw-Hill. Robinson went on to purchase Shearson Lehman, IDS, First Data Corporation, Trade Development Bank (Switzerland), and several others. He co-created Warner-Amex with Steve Ross.[5] He played a prominent role in the RJR Nabisco leveraged buyout battle as chronicled in the book Barbarians at the Gate. Actor Fred Thompson played Robinson in the 1993 movie.

By the end of Robinson's tenure, he acknowledged that it had not gone well, saying that his "major miscalculation was ‘a focus on overly rapid growth.'"[6]

Other positions[edit]

Robinson has been a director of The Coca-Cola Company since 1975.[7] He is a general partner and co-founder of RRE Ventures, a private information technology venture investment firm, along with his son, James D. Robinson IV, a venture capitalist, and a classmate of his son from Harvard Business School, Stuart J. Ellman. Robinson is also president of J.D. Robinson, Inc., a strategic consulting firm. He was previously a long-time Director and Chairman of Bristol-Myers Squibb, and of Violy, Byorum & Partners, which operated in South America.[1]

Robinson also serves on the Boards of Directors of PrimeRevenue,[8] and is honorary chairman of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Robinson is a member of the Business Council and the Council on Foreign Relations, and an honorary trustee of the Brookings Institution and World Travel & Tourism Council, where he was a co-founder. In previous years, he served as co-chairman of the Business Roundtable and chairman of the Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations. He is currently a member of investment bank Jefferies' Global Senior Advisory Board.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Both Robinson and his son James D. Robinson IV are members of the Augusta National Golf Club.

In 1991, Robinson received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement presented by Awards Council member Henry Kravis.[10][11]

Robinson married Linda Gosden Robinson in July 1984.[12] They have two children together.[13]


  1. ^ a b Olan, Kerry A. (20 September 1999). "The return of Jimmy Three Sticks". Forbes. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  2. ^ Schwartz, Jerry (Summer 1993). "On His Own". Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. Archived from the original on 18 March 2005. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  3. ^ "DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI OF CHI PHI FRATERNITY". Chi Phi Fraternity. Archived from the original on 8 March 2009. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  4. ^ "James D. Robinson III". NNDB. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  5. ^ Bob Pittman (28 July 1991). "COVER STORY : The Man Behind the Monster : It may be hard to recall life before MTV, but Bob Pittman, who shaped and sold the concept, remembers it well". Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ Meehan, John (19 March 1990). "Failed Vision: Jim Robinson's Big Plans for American Express Aren't Working". BusinessWeek.
  7. ^ "James D. Robinson III". Board of Directors. The Coca-Cola Company. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013.
  8. ^ "PrimeRevenue Announces Board, Executive Appointment and Continues Growth".
  9. ^ Global Senior Advisory Board
  10. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". www.achievement.org. American Academy of Achievement.
  11. ^ "Henry R. Kravis Biography and Interview". Henry R. Kravis presenting the Golden Plate Award to James D. Robinson III, Chairman of American Express during the introductory dinner and symposium of the 1991 Summit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
  12. ^ Fromson, Brett D. (3 October 1993). "RANK HATH ITS PRIVILEGES, AND ITS PENTHOUSE". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
  13. ^ "Linda Robinson | US Squash". Retrieved 22 February 2023.

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by CEO of American Express
Succeeded by