CI VIEW: America’s new business Titans spread their wings

WASHINGTON, DC (BBN) – The new economic elite of the United States is not made of Silicon Valley moguls but the impressive number of Black American business tycoons such Chicago’s Loop Capital founder and CEO James Reynolds; Washingtonian real estate tycoon Donahue Peebles; Warrenton, Virginia luxury resort prima donna Sheila Johnson; NYC asset manager Christopher Williams and LA’s billionaire Act-1 Group human resource group owner, Janice Bryrant Howroyd.

[Loop Capital Chairman and CEO Jim Reynolds speaks to Capitol Intelligence/BBN using CI Glass following Closing the Wealth Gap hosted by US House Financial Services Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. September 16, 2016] 

While most of Wall Street may know Jim Reynolds as the golfing buddy of President Barack Obama, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Citigroup’s Michael L. Corbat know Mr. Reynolds as Chicago’s top investment banker.

You will not meet America’s new blue bloods in SF/Palo Alto, Boca Raton Florida but at the same playing fields of America’s old blue bloods: Martha’s Vineyard, Sag Harbor/East Hampton and Middleburg, Virginia.

Reynolds has been able to build Loop Capital over the last few years into Chicago’s foremost investment bank and M&A house, overshadowing local banks such as The Chicago Corporation and into the leagues of US middle-market investment banks such as New York’s Evercore Partners, Sandler O’Neill and Guggenheim Partners; and Southern California’s Roth Capital Partners.

A great example of Loop Capital’s success was being named co-M&A adviser along with Goldman Sachs  by Exelon Corp (NYSE: EXC) for its USD 13.4 bn takeover of Washington, DC area utility Pepco Holdings (NYSE: POM)..

[The Williams Capital Group Chairman and CEO Christopher J. Williams speaks to Capitol Intelligence/BBN using CI Glass following Closing the Wealth Gap hosted by US House Financial Services Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, DC.]

Goldman Sachs’ Blankfein, like JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon, is finding partnerships with African-American owned financial services companies to be particularly lucrative.  Goldman Sachs recently decided to transfer USD 1bn to Manhattan’s The Williams Capital Group institutional and asset management group owned and managed by its founder, Chairman and CEO Christopher J. Williams.

During a panel hosted by US House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) during the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference, Mr. Williams said the only extraordinary request Goldman Sachs made was for him to “give a good word” to Congresswoman Waters.

Another new American Titan is DC native and owner-founder of one of the largest privately-held real estate investment groups in the United Stagtes, The Peebles Corporation Chairman and CEO R. Donahue Peebles.

Peebles has returned to Washington from his current corporate headquarters in Coral Gables, Florida and Fifth Avenue, New York to participate in the continuing revitalization of Washington, DC and especially in the blighted Anacostia and East of the River sections of the city tourists and lobbyists never see but is rapidly becoming the new financial and cultural mecca of the mid-Atlantic.

[Peebles Corporation Founder and CEO and Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Chairman R. Donahue (Don) Peebles speaks to Capitol Intelligence/BBN using Google Glass at Congressional Black Caucus Foundation annual convention on September 25, 2014]

While keeping his political ambitions close to his chest, Mr. Peebles did say that he is eyeing the Baltimore real estate market for his company’s future expansion.   Baltimore is rapidly becoming the city with highest growth thanks to the world of Baltimore-based Under Armour and the work of Prince George’s County native and fellow real estate mogul, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.

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Peebles is also the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the foundation that groups more than 46 African-American members of Congress and arguably the single most powerful single caucus in Congress in terms of seniority.

If the Democrats win the US House of Representatives, more than 26 members will either become chairman or chairmen of powerful committees, the most notably that of Representative Maxine Waters becoming Chairman of the powerful House Financial Services Committee.

[Congressional Black Caucus co-Chair Karen Bass (D-California) filmed by Capitol Intelligence/BBN using CI Glass on possible Democratic Party takeover of House of Representatives at Congressional Black Caucus Foundation news conference.]

Mr. Peebles, like the blue bloods of the past, summers in Sag Harbor/East Hampton with his friend and fellow new Blue Blood, American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault.

Another African-American elite is luxury resort owner and movie producer Sheila Johnson. Ms. Johnson and her then husband Robert Johnson founded and sold Black Entertainment Television (BET) to Viacom for USD 2.4bn.

Ms. Johnson used the proceeds to found the Salamander Resort group, with its flagship resort located in America’s wealthiest and most exclusive enclave, Middleburg, Virginia.  Middleburg, the center of Virginia’s fox hunting country, is the home and playground to old American Blue Bloods such as Mars, Incorporated scion Jacqueline Mars, Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) co-founder Sandy Lerner and the Mellon banking family.

[Black Entertainment Television co-founder and Salamander Resorts & SpA owner Sheila C. Johnson speaks with Capitol Intelligence/BBN using CI Glass on Lee Daniels’ The Butler at Middleburg Film Festival in Middleburg, Virginia. October 24, 2015]

Apart from having by far the best resort and spa in the US mid-Atlantic, Ms. Johnson has become a major power in the Hollywood with her co-production of Lee DanielsThe Butler.

After a hostile reception by Hollywood studio heads, Ms. Johnson reached out to Ukrainian-American billionaire Leonid Blavtnik to become the major financier of the film. Blavtnik, who made his wealth in the Russian oil and gas business, is one the most powerful men in Hollywood thanks to his acquisition of Warner Records and his Icon film distribution business

While Hollywood continues to smirk about the record number of producer credits, some 41; Ms. Johnson and Mr. Blavtnik were happy to laugh at the bank as the film grossed over USD 116m at the box office.

[ACT-1 Group founder and CEO Janice Bryant Howroyd filmed by Capitol Intelligence/BBN using CI Glass at Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference. September 15, 2016]

America’s new Minority Titans also include owners of billion-plus private companies such as Los Angeles-based Act 1 Group Global work force management company founder and CEO Janice Bryant Howroyd.

As she fiercely protected the privacy of owning a private company, Ms. Bryant Howroyd expanded a West Coast human resource company into 19 countries and continues to grow the USD multi-billion business by double digits.

The next great celebration of the new America elite will happen on September 24 with the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Another celebration of the new America elite will happen on September 24 with the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.  

[JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, Carlyle co-founder and CEO David Rubenstein and Revolution Growth co-founders Ted Leonsis and Steve Case filmed by Capitol Intelligence/BBN using CI Glass at Economic Club of Washington. September 12, 2016]

Other African-American elites, such as Hollywood A-list executive producer and Chicago native Shonda Rhimes (Kerry Washington’s Scandal, James Pickens‘ Grey’s Anatomy), BET co-founder Robert L. Johnson (whose RLJ private equity house is in partnership with Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein) and Oprah Winfrey will be joined by fellow fundraisers and former American Titans,  Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife  Melinda Gates for the museums’ gala opening weekend.

By PK Semler in Washington, DC. For information please call +1-202-549-3399 or email pks@capitolintelgroup.com

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