Make us your home page

Raymond James picks outsider as CEO

Raymond James Financial chief executive officer Tom James on Monday chose Paul Reilly, a company outsider but a hometown boy, to succeed him.

Filling James' shoes is no easy task. James routinely is voted tops among area business leaders in an annual St. Petersburg Times survey and is a major area philanthropist. And he's handing stewardship of Raymond James to Reilly during one of the more perilous economic times since the Depression.

The Tom James throne is the closest thing the Tampa Bay area has to business royalty. The publicly traded company boasts the highest profile among area corporations, thanks in large part to the firm's decision years ago to buy the naming rights to Raymond James Stadium, home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the site just 30 days ago of this year's Super Bowl.

But Reilly, 54, is not arriving without experience. He has served as a director on the Raymond James board since 2005 and was chairman of the board's audit committee for the past year.

Reilly grew up in St. Petersburg and is executive chairman of the Korn/Ferry International executive search firm. Earlier, he was CEO at KPMG International, an advisory firm of more than 100,000 employees with annual revenue of $12 billion.

Reilly will join Raymond James Financial as president on May 1. After one year, Reilly will succeed James, 66, as CEO. James will continue to work for the firm full time as executive chairman of the board.

Raymond James was co-founded by Tom James' father, making Reilly the first CEO outside the family to run the investment firm. Neither James nor Reilly was available for comment Monday, but James offered some thoughts in a statement.

"Because he grew up in St. Petersburg, I have known Paul and his family since he was a young tennis player," James said. "Since then, he has demonstrated success in academia and international business, as well as, in recent years, as a public company CEO."

James said he has had the opportunity to observe Reilly's business skills in action as a company director. James praised Reilly's intellect, financial insight, decisionmaking skills, objectivity and "a commitment" to the firm's values and tenets.

Reilly said Raymond James' conservative management practices and principles, commitment to clients and culture of service help distinguish the firm from others in the industry. The firm's "relatively steady performance during these challenging economic times has validated its approach and is another reason why it continues to be so well respected," he said.

Reilly was appointed a director of Raymond James over the objections of Institutional Shareholder Services. The independent adviser to investor groups didn't think Reilly fit the mold of an independent director after his firm, Korn/Ferry, was paid $215,000 by Raymond James for executive search fees.

Raymond James' current president, Chet Helck, will retain the role of chief operating officer after Reilly comes on board.

Before his roles at Korn/Ferry and KPMG, the soft-spoken Reilly ran Peat Marwick's local real estate consulting business. He was a consultant and civic leader behind downtown redevelopment during the Bay Plaza era of the late 1980s and early 1990s. He also chaired the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and was an early supporter for a St. Petersburg building now called Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Reilly graduated from St. Petersburg's Bishop Barry High School, the predecessor to St. Petersburg Catholic. He earned an MBA at the University of Notre Dame.

Shares in Raymond James closed Monday at $13.51, down from a 52-week high of $38.25. As Wall Street-related financial firms go these difficult days, that's a pretty good showing.

Information from staff writers Mark Albright and Jeff Harrington was used in this column. Robert Trigaux can be reached at

Raymond James picks outsider as CEO 03/02/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 3, 2009 7:36am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. To catch a poacher: Florida wildlife officers set up undercover gator farm sting


    To catch a ring of poachers who targeted Florida's million-dollar alligator farming industry, state wildlife officers created the ultimate undercover operation.

    To catch a ring of poachers who targeted Florida's million-dollar alligator farming industry, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission set up an undercover operation. They created their own alligator farm, complete with plenty of real, live alligators, watched over by real, live undercover wildlife officers. It also had hidden video cameras to record everything that happened. That was two years ago, and on Wednesday wildlife officers announced that they arrested nine people on  44 felony charges alleging they broke wildlife laws governing alligator harvesting, transporting eggs and hatchlings across state lines, dealing in stolen property, falsifying records, racketeering and conspiracy. The wildlife commission released these photos of alligators, eggs and hatchlings taken during the undercover operation. [Courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]
  2. CBO analysis: 23 million would lose health coverage under House-passed bill


    WASHINGTON — The Republican health care bill that passed the House earlier this month would nearly double the number of Americans without health insurance over the next decade, according to a new analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

    Demonstrators protests the passage of a House Republican health care bill, outside the the Capitol in Washington, on May 4. The House took the unusual step of voting on the American Health Care Act before the Congressional Budget Office could assess it. That analysis was released Thursday and it showed the bill would cause 23 million fewer people to have health insurance by 2026. Many additional consumers would see skimpier health coverage and higher deductibles, the budget office projected.
  3. Florida Specialty Insurance acquires Pinellas Park's Mount Beacon Insurance


    Tens of thousands of homeowners who were pushed out of Citizens Property Insurance for a private carrier since 2014 are finding themselves changing insurance companies yet again.

  4. Marijuana extract Epidiolex helps some kids with epilepsy, study shows


    A medicine made from marijuana, without the stuff that gives a high, cut seizures in kids with a severe form of epilepsy in a study that strengthens the case for more research into pot's possible health benefits.

    An employee checks a plant at LeafLine Labs, a medical marijuana production facility in Cottage Grove, Minn. [Associated Press (2015)]
  5. St. Pete Economic Development Corporation lures marketing firm MXTR to town

    Economic Development

    St. Petersburg Economic Development Corporation has lured its first big catch to St. Petersburg — MXTR Automation. The digital marketing company announced Wednesday that it will fill 20 "high-wage" creative positions within the next 18 months, as well as open an office in downtown St. Petersburg this year.