Tuesday, June 27, 2023

One of The Kingmakers Of Wall Street Was Killed In An Auto Accident On Sunday

We'll have more on James Crown this weekend, for now here's his obituary in the Chicago Tribune, June 26

James Crown, scion of one of Chicago’s leading philanthropic families, dies in Colorado motorsports park accident at 70

A scion of one of Chicago’s wealthiest and most philanthropic families, James Crown held key roles with venerable institutions such as the University of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry, and was often at the center of conversations over the city’s political, business and civic issues, including the epidemic of gun violence.

Crown died Sunday, his 70th birthday, after the vehicle he was in crashed into an impact barrier at the Aspen Motorsports Park in Woody Creek, Colorado, near Aspen, where he had a home. Crown had been a resident of Chicago’s Gold Coast.

The Crown family issued a statement late Sunday confirming news reports of the accident.

“Tremendously civic-minded, Jim was kind, and his passion for caring was unending,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a tweet early Monday. “MK and I were saddened to learn of the passing of our friend Jim Crown.”

Born James Schine Crown in Chicago, Crown was the grandson of industrialist Henry Crown, who in 1919 founded Material Service Corp., which later merged with aerospace and defense firm General Dynamics. Crown’s father was longtime civic leader Lester Crown.

Crown received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hampshire College in Massachusetts in 1976 and then a law degree from Stanford Law School in 1980.

Crown worked for five years for investment bank Salomon Brothers in New York before returning to Chicago to join his family’s investment firm, Henry Crown & Co. He became the company’s president in 2002, overseeing investments and his family’s fortune, and added the roles of chairman and CEO in 2018.

He served on the boards of several major corporations, at one time being lead director of Sara Lee Corp. At the time of his death he was on the board of JPMorgan Chase & Co., and recent filings showed that he was bank’s largest insider owner, with a $1.72 billion stake.

Crown’s role in JPMorgan Chase stemmed from his family’s ownership in predecessor banks, dating back to the First National Bank of Chicago. Crown’s grandfather Henry had begun buying shares in First Chicago in the early 1970s after the bank’s stock crashed following the Hunt brothers’ failed attempt to corner the silver market.

First Chicago merged with NBD in 1995 and then with Bank One in 1998, and in 2000, Crown and another board member, John Hall, recruited Jamie Dimon to be Bank One’s CEO. Bank One in 2004 was acquired by JPMorgan Chase, which made Dimon its CEO.

In the political arena, Crown had been a major supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential run. He co-chaired Obama’s 2008 Illinois finance committee and ranked among his top campaign bundlers.

“He was an extraordinary civic leader and a loyal and devoted friend who I have now known for 25 years,” said Obama Foundation CEO Valerie Jarrett. “Jim chaired the board of the University of Chicago at the same time that I chaired the board of the University of Chicago Medical Center, so we worked together very closely, and he used his energy and commitment to excellence and brought all his incredible power and used it to be a force for good.”....