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John W. Rogers Jr.

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John W. Rogers Jr.
20120721 John W. Rogers, Jr.JPG
Born John Washington Rogers Jr.
(1958-03-31) March 31, 1958 (age 60)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Residence Chicago, Illinois
Education Bachelor of Arts (1980)
Alma mater Princeton University
Occupation Founder, Chairman & CEO, Ariel Investments, LLC
Spouse(s) Desirée Rogers (divorced)
Sharon Fairley (divorcing)
Children Victoria
Parent(s) Jewel Lafontant
John Rogers, Sr.

John Washington Rogers Jr. (born March 31, 1958) is an investor, philanthropist and founder of Ariel Capital Management (now Ariel Investments, LLC)[1] in 1983.[2] He is chairman and CEO of the company,[3] which is the United States' largest minority-run mutual fund firm.[4] He has been a regular contributor to Forbes magazine for most of the last decade.[5] Active in the 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign, Rogers was a leader of the 2009 Inauguration committee.[6][7]

Rogers was appointed as the Board President of the Chicago Park District for six years in the 1990s.[8][9] He has also was appointed as board member to several companies, as a leader of several organizations affiliated with his collegiate alma mater, and as a leader in youth education in his native Chicago. In 2007, Rogers was honored with the Woodrow Wilson Award from Princeton University for the breadth and depth of his service to many organizations. While a student at Princeton, he was captain of the 1979–80 Ivy League co-champion Princeton Tigers men's basketball team.[4]

Rogers was raised in the Hyde Park community area of Chicago's South Side, and graduated from the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in 1976.[9][10] At the age of 12 his father started giving him dividend-paying stocks.[9] He went to college at Princeton University, where he used his free time to glean market information at his local stock brokerage and where he was influenced by Burton Malkiel's A Random Walk Down Wall Street.[9]

He was a college basketball teammate of Craig Robinson,[9] and he served as captain of the 1979–80 Ivy League co-champion Princeton Tigers men's basketball team.[4] He had a habit of perusing business journals and calling his broker from stadium payphones.[11] Rogers credits Pete Carril, his basketball coach, as his greatest college influence because Carril stressed precision and teamwork.[11]

Rogers studied economics at Princeton.[11][12] After graduating in 1980, he worked for William Blair & Company in Chicago. A few years later, and with the financial backing of family and friends, he opened his own firm, starting with the Municipal Employees' Annuity & Benefit Fund of Chicago as his first account.[9]


He is the only son of Jewel Lafontant and John Rogers Sr.[9] His mother Jewel was the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Chicago Law School in 1946.[13] She became a prominent Republican lawyer,[9] and she nominated Richard Nixon, who won the Republican Party Presidential Nomination, at the 1960 Republican National Convention.[11] His father was a Tuskegee airman pilot with over 100 combat missions of service during World War II and an eventual Cook County judge for twenty years.[9][11] His parents divorced in 1961 and his mother died in 1997.[9] Rogers was three years old when his parents divorced.[11] He had a daughter, Victoria, with his former wife Desirée Rogers.[9]

One of Rogers' great-grandfathers owned the Stratford Hotel in Greenwood, Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as The Black Wall Street. The hotel was destroyed in the Tulsa race riot. Rogers helped finance Before They Die!, a documentary detailing some survivor accounts, and made a brief appearance in the film.[14]

On December 28, 2002, Rogers married Sharon Fairley who was also a divorcee.[15] At the time of her 2002 wedding announcement in The New York Times, Fairley, who is also a Princeton alumna, was the Executive Director of Consumer Marketing and Trademark Development at Pharmacia.[15] Currently, Fairley is the City of Chicago's new leader for the Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates police-involved shootings.[16] Previously, she worked for Chicago's Office of the Inspector General as First Deputy Inspector General and General Counsel and as an Assistant United States Attorney in Chicago for eight years.[17][18][19]

Personal life[edit]

Rogers has a special overnight delivery subscription with BusinessWeek that is delivered via Federal Express so it is received a day earlier than the regular public.[9] He still does not use computers or e-mail.[9] Rogers is known for wearing gray pinstripe business suits to work.[9] On the basketball court, he wears black-rimmed goggles.[11][20]

Rogers also has a publicly disclosed set of habits. He has had a diet, which includes on average more than one meal a day from McDonald's at least since college.[9] He only eats simple familiar foods and will return an order because a vegetable touched his meat.[9] His family's long-time (over 40 years) housekeeper, claims that he buys things such as shaving cream and deodorant in sixes and that he changes his toothbrush every other week.[9] He collects teddy bears (especially Winnie the Pooh).[9]

Three-on-three basketball has been a continuing part of his life. As of 2000, he had a team with the second and fourth all-time leading scorers at Princeton, Kit Mueller (class of 1991) and Robinson (1983) and the school's second leading three point shooter Sean Jackson (1992). Between 1996 and 2000 his team had won 12 of 17 tournaments that they had entered.[11] He scored the game-winning basket of Chicago's three-on-three basketball tournament on a team with Arne Duncan, Robinson, and Kit Mueller.[9] Rogers and Robinson were among those invited to practice with Michael Jordan as he prepared for his comeback.[21] He claims to be the first person to have beaten Jordan in a game of one-on-one at one of his fantasy basketball camps.[22][23] Among the witnesses to the victory, which was reported in Sports Illustrated, were John Thompson Jr., Mike Krzyzewski and fellow fantasy participant Damon Wayans.[20] He has Yoruba Nigerian and Cherokee ancestry through his maternal ancestor, Scipio Vaughan.[24][25][26]

Ariel Capital Management/Ariel Investments, LLC[edit]

Rogers was one of the hot stock pickers of the 1980s.[27] Rogers uses a value investing strategy, which has been a problem at times when growth stocks have been the better-performing investment class.[9][27][28] However, his firm and its mutual funds have often been among the industry performance leaders and have on average outperformed the market.[27][28][29] He eschews investing in new companies or making investments in companies that have no track record.[22] For example, rather than invest in AIDS-related stocks, he would prefer to invest in hospitals that treat AIDS victims.[30] His typical holding period is four or five years rather than the 14-month period of the average mutual fund.[31] Mellody Hobson serves as the president of the company.[32]

The growth of his company has been steady. He founded the firm in July 1983 with $10,000, which he turned into $23,170 by the end of February 1984.[33][34] He had financial backing from his mother and other friends and relatives.[34] The Ariel fund became public on November 6, 1986.[35] In November 2000, he had 41 employees.[11] In February 2002, the company had 51 employees and more than 120 institutional clients (including United Airlines, ChevronTexaco, and the California State Teachers' Retirement System),[9] which grew to include institutional clients such as Wal-Mart and PepsiCo by April 2005.[22] The company has over 100 employees as of 2008.[33] In 2008, the company changed its name to Ariel Investments, LLC.[36]

Rogers also has served on the boards of directors of other publicly traded Chicago-based corporations, including Exelon,[37] and Bally Total Fitness Corporation, where he was named lead director.[38]

Rogers has been a regular contributor to Forbes for many years and online archives of his commentaries go back as far as 2001.[5] He provides regular personal finance commentaries in a column that has recently been appearing under the title "The Patient Investor".[39][40][41]

Public service[edit]

Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez (center) speaks at a press conference at Chicago's Center for Economic Progress. Rogers is on the far right.

On February 23, 2008, Rogers became the first African-American winner of a Woodrow Wilson Award from Princeton University for his service to the Princeton alumni community, the Chicago community, the African American community and the financial community.[42][12] In 1994, Time featured him as one of its 50 leaders under 40.[43] Rogers is co-chairman of Jesse Jackson's annual Wall Street Project minority conference, chairman of the Chicago Urban League, a member of four corporate boards and was a leading campaigner for Princeton basketball legend and United States Senator Bill Bradley's 2000 United States presidential campaign.[9] Three of the boards he serves on are for Fortune 500 companies: Aon Corporation, Exelon Corporation and McDonald's.[44] He is a trustee of the University of Chicago. He has served numerous civic, educational and arts organizations as a director or trustee, including the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Oprah Winfrey Foundation and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.[12] At Princeton, he was a trustee of the University from 1990 to 1994 and more recently has served as a member of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni (ABPA) and the Princeton Varsity Club board of directors, as well as the Alumni Schools Committee.[12] In the early 1990s, Rogers served as a fundraising leader in Project Vote voter registration efforts led by former United States President Barack Obama.[12] He has been an advocate for greater diversity in upper-level corporate positions.[45]

Rogers and his company were part of a network of community partners that supported the Ariel Community Academy, which emphasizes financial literacy in its curriculum.[12] Rogers donates both time and money to the academy: he has designed curricula and brings students to board meetings. As a result of his money and time investment 80% of the eighth-grade graduates from the academy are accepted at elite area high schools.[31] Rogers adopted a class of 40 sixth graders at a cost of $200,000 per year through the "I Have A Dream Foundation". He expected to pay for college for about 30 of the students.[43]

He was part of the inner circle of the Barack Obama presidential campaign.[6] He is a long-time Obama associate who serves as the co-chair of Obama's Illinois finance committee and who has been a major fundraiser for Democratic Party candidates.[46] He served along with Bill Daley, Pat Ryan, Penny Pritzker and Julianna Smoot on Barack Obama 2009 presidential inauguration committee.[7] In June 2009, Rogers became chairman of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools' board.[10]


Since late December 2011, the basketball court in the main competition gym at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools has been named after Rogers. Rogers graduated from and played basketball himself at Lab. His name was printed on the floor during Winter Break of the 2011-12 school year, and the court's new title will officially be adopted on February 8, 2012, in a ceremony corresponding with Lab's home game against conference rival Northridge Prep.[47]


  1. ^ "Ariel Investments, LLC". Ariel Investments. 
  2. ^ Tilson, Whitney; John Heins (December 20, 2005). "Outsourcing For Outsized Profits: Whitney Tilson and John Heins, Value Investor Insight". Forbes. Inc. Retrieved December 16, 2008. 
  3. ^ Lim, Paul J. (July 26, 2007). "The Real-Estate Market Still Stinks, but Some Housing Stocks May Be Tempting". U.S.News & World Report. U.S.News & World Report, L.P. Retrieved December 16, 2008. 
  4. ^ a b c Quiñones, Eric (November 8, 2007). "Former Men's Basketball Captain John Rogers '80 Wins Woodrow Wilson Award". Princeton University. Retrieved December 16, 2008. 
  5. ^ a b "By John W. Rogers Jr". Forbes. LLC. Retrieved December 19, 2008. 
  6. ^ a b Crockett, Roger O. (November 6, 2008). "Obama's Business Backers Look Ahead: A powerful group of African American executives helped get Obama elected President. Now they hope he can provide solutions to the economic crisis". BusinessWeek. The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. Retrieved December 19, 2008. 
  7. ^ a b "Presidential Inaugural Committee Sets $50,000 Donation Limit". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. November 25, 2008. Retrieved December 19, 2008. 
  8. ^ Rogers, John W. Jr. (May 13, 2007). "Best Business Books: John W. Rogers Jr.'s Picks". U.S.News & World Report. U.S.News & World Report, L.P. Retrieved December 16, 2008. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Young, Lauren (March 2002). "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood". SmartMoney. Retrieved December 16, 2008. 
  10. ^ a b "UChicago News". Retrieved January 16, 2017. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i Chen, Albert (November 6, 2000). "Investor With An Eye On The Ball: The basketball tutorial John Rogers took at Princeton pays dividends every day". Sports Illustrated. Time Inc. Retrieved December 17, 2008. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f Princeton Athletic Communications (November 9, 2007). "Wilson Award winner". IvyLeague Archived from the original on March 16, 2008. Retrieved December 17, 2008. 
  13. ^ "Oberlin College Archives Opens Jewel Lafontant Mankarious Papers". Oberlin College. July 17, 2001. Retrieved December 19, 2008. 
  14. ^ Wade, Marcia A. (November 21, 2008). "Surviving Destruction of 'Black Wall Street': Black business executives lend time, money to finance New York screening". Black Enterprise. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  15. ^ a b "Weddings/Celebrations; Sharon Fairley, John Rogers Jr". The New York Times. December 29, 2002. Retrieved April 27, 2009. 
  16. ^ Bradley, Ben (January 5, 2016). "Emanuel promises reform, introduces new IPRA chief". Retrieved January 16, 2017. 
  17. ^ "Lecturer Sharon Fairley, '06, Will Become the Head of Chicago's Independent Police Review Authority – University of Chicago Law School". Retrieved January 16, 2017. 
  18. ^ Slevin, Peter (November 5, 2008). "Portraits of purpose: Now together for Obama s'85, black alumni in Chicago have leading roles in the life of their city". Princeton Alumni Weekly. Retrieved April 27, 2009. 
  19. ^ "U.S. Charges 28 Defendants In Alleged Crack Cocaine Conspiracy Involving Gangster Disciples Faction On City's South Side" (PDF). United States Department of Justice. May 21, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 5, 2013. Retrieved April 27, 2009. 
  20. ^ a b Ballard, Chris (February 26, 2008). "The Happiest Camper". Sports Illustrated. Time Inc. Retrieved December 18, 2008. [dead link]
  21. ^ Bernstein, Mark F. (December 5, 2001). "Playin' pickup with His Airness: Alumni helped Michael Jordan back into playing shape". Princeton Alumni Weekly. Retrieved December 17, 2008. 
  22. ^ a b c "John Rogers". The Smiley Group, Inc. April 15, 2005. Archived from the original on January 22, 2009. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  23. ^ "Michael Jordan vs. CEO John Rogers". The Wall Street Journal. November 13, 2008. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  24. ^ Lisa A. Lindsay; John Wood Sweet (2013). Biography and the Black Atlantic (The Early Modern America. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 203. ISBN 9780812208702. 
  25. ^ Brenda Gayle Plummer (2013). In Search of Power: African Americans in the Era of Decolonization, 1956-1974. Cambridge University Press. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-107-0229-97. 
  26. ^ Tony Scully (February 23, 2017). "An extraordinary family". Chronicle Independent. Retrieved January 18, 2018. 
  27. ^ a b c Stodghill, Ron (February 26, 1996). "Ariel's Fall From Grace: John Rogers is trying to revive his sagging investment firm". BusinessWeek. The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. Retrieved December 19, 2008. 
  28. ^ a b Strahler, Steven R. (November 29, 2006). "Ariel Capital loses more state business". Chicago Business. Crain Communications, Inc. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  29. ^ Schurr, Stephen (April 12, 2005). "Turning on to SRI needn't mean dropping profits". The Financial Times. The Financial Times Ltd. Retrieved December 19, 2008. 
  30. ^ Geewax, Marilyn (March 16, 1987). "Investing in AIDS-related stock – Hunt for cure a plus for several firms". The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution. Newsbank. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  31. ^ a b Zweig, Jason (July 6, 2007). "Buy. Hold. Profit. Give Back.: Ariel Capital's John Rogers built an outstanding record investing in a few "great ideas" for the long run. Then he had his own idea: to launch a school to teach inner-city kids about money". Money. Cable News Network. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  32. ^ "Ariel Investments, LLC". BusinessWeek. The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. Retrieved January 12, 2009. 
  33. ^ a b "Ariel Capital Management LLC". American City Business Journals, Inc. Retrieved December 18, 2008. [dead link]
  34. ^ a b Topolnicki, Denise M. (May 31, 1987). "Chicagoan is on the money target firms with potential". Chicago Sun-Times. Newsbank. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  35. ^ Hinden, Stan (November 24, 1986). "Information Analysis Inc. Starts Small In Stock Offering". The Washington Post. Newsbank. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  36. ^ "DotCom Marketing Launches New Website for Ariel Investments". Reuters. Thomson Reuters. May 15, 2008. Retrieved January 12, 2009. 
  37. ^ "John W. Rogers Jr., Independent Director". Exelon Corporation. 
  38. ^ "Bally Announces Appointment of Lead Director and Establishment of Special Committee to Lead Strategic Process". Bally Total Fitness Corporation. January 11, 2006. Retrieved April 17, 2011. 
  39. ^ Rogers, John W. Jr. (December 22, 2008). "It's Time for Equities". LLC. Retrieved December 19, 2008. 
  40. ^ Rogers, John W. Jr. (October 27, 2008). "It's Time for Equities". LLC. Retrieved December 19, 2008. 
  41. ^ Rogers, John W. Jr. (September 1, 2008). "Buy Where the Fear Is". LLC. Retrieved December 19, 2008. 
  42. ^ Princeton Athletic Communications (November 8, 2007). "Former Men's Basketball Captain John Rogers '80 Wins Woodrow Wilson Award". Princeton University. Retrieved December 17, 2008. 
  43. ^ a b Fairley, Juliette (July 11, 2001). "Section 1: A Host of Firsts". OnMoney. Zoom Information Inc. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  44. ^ "Investment Team". Ariel Investments, LLC. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  45. ^ Brewster, Deborah; Chrystia Freeland (June 11, 2008). "US boardrooms criticised for racial bar". The Financial Times. The Financial Times Ltd. Retrieved December 19, 2008. 
  46. ^ Brewster, Deborah; Chrystia Freeland (June 13, 2008). "View from the Top". The Financial Times. The Financial Times Ltd. Retrieved December 19, 2008. 
  47. ^ Foster, Stella (February 7, 2012). "Remembering Don". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved February 9, 2012. The University of Chicago Laboratory School is dedicating the John W. Rogers Jr. Basketball Court at the school on Wednesday, with a reception to follow after the varsity boys game. 

External links[edit]