John D. Stewart (journalist)

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John D. Stewart (October 16, 1915 – July 1, 1998) was one of the founders of BNA (Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.), a consummate journalist, an expert in labor relations, and a champion of employee ownership.

Stewart was among the five top editors to whom noted publisher David Lawrence sold his U.S. News Publishing Company’s offshoot, Bureau of National Affairs, in 1946. The five editors opened up ownership to all BNA employees, incorporating BNA as a wholly employee-owned company in 1947. Today, the 1700-employee international corporation remains an independent, privately owned publisher of specialized news and information for professionals in business and government.

Stewart was elected to BNA’s first board of directors in 1947 and served on that board every year until he stepped down in 1994 (the last 26 years as chairman). He was BNA president from 1964 to 1980, growing the company to a successful publishing venture prepared to enter the electronic information age. After his retirement, he also served as trustee of the stock plan. In 1997, Stewart wrote Making Employee Ownership Work about the founders’ crafting of BNA’s unique form of 100 percent employee ownership.

Stewart was born in Indiana, Pa., and attended Princeton and Harvard universities before joining BNA in 1939. He died in 1998. He was a first cousin to film legend James Stewart.