2010—Arthur M. Blank

Arthur M. Blank is Owner & CEO of the Atlanta Falcons. Since acquiring the franchise in February 2002, he has made significant changes that have created renewed excitement for Falcons fans across the region.

During Blank’s first year as owner, the Falcons generated a 100 percent increase in season ticket sales – the highest single-year increase in season ticket sales in NFL history – began a streak of 56 consecutive sold-out games, and built the franchise’s first season ticket waiting list. Now in his ninth season, Blank has distinguished himself as one of the most innovative and progressive owners in all of professional sports, allowing him to attract and retain some of most talented executives, coaches and players in the NFL.

Blank’s Family of Businesses portfolio also includes The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation; Atlanta Falcons Physical Therapy Centers; PGA TOUR Superstores; and Mountain Sky Guest Ranch and the Pop Stand in Montana. While diverse in nature, all of his businesses are run based on a common set of core values, which focus on developing customer relationships, treating associates with respect, and supporting communities.

Blank is widely known in the business community for his success in building the world’s largest home improvement retailer. He co-founded The Home Depot in 1978 and retired from the company as Co-Chairman in 2001. At the time of his retirement, The Home Depot was a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and one of Fortune magazine’s “Global Most Admired Companies.” During Blank’s last year as CEO of the company, The Home Depot ranked first in social responsibility in an annual survey conducted by Harris Interactive, Inc.

Blank believes in the importance of making a difference – professionally and personally. In addition to the company’s financial success, during his 23 years with The Home Depot the company donated more than $113 million to communities, and Home Depot associates provided hundreds of thousands of hours of personal volunteer time. Blank is applying the same business acumen and values to the Atlanta Falcons in building a competitive, successful and community-oriented franchise.

Blank is also dedicated to his own giving back. Through his generosity, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, along with Blank and his wife’s personal giving, has granted more than $250 million to support early childhood development, education, the arts, and parks and greenspace. Mr. and Mrs. Blank were named as the 2000 Georgia Philanthropists of the Year by the National Society of Fundraising Executives.

Blank is recognized throughout the country for his personal and professional achievements. In 2008, he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of South Carolina Beaufort, and in 2006 he was named Distinguished American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation, which every year recognizes an individual who has utilized his or her talents to attain great success in business, private life or public service. Also in 2006, Blank was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame, and was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities from Furman University. In 2005 he was named National Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young.

In 2003, for the second time in three years, Blank was named Georgia’s Most Respected CEO by Georgia Trend magazine, and in 2002 he was inducted into Georgia State University’s Business Hall of Fame. Among other previous honors, Babson College inducted Blank into its Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs in 1995 and conferred on him an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 1998.

Blank serves on a number of boards including: Outward Bound USA; the Board of Trustees of The Carter Center, Inc.; the Board of Trustees of Emory University; the Board of Trustees of The Cooper Institute; and the boards of Cox Enterprises, Inc., and Staples, Inc.

In September 2001, Blank joined the faculty of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School as its first Distinguished Executive in Residence. He now serves as a Goizueta Executive Fellow. Blank also served as the 2003 Chairman of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

A native of Flushing, N.Y., Blank received a B.S. Degree in Business Administration with Distinction from Babson College, where he was active in a wide variety of extracurricular activities.

Blank has six children and two grandchildren. He and his wife, Stephanie, and their three children live in Atlanta. A strong believer in work-life balance, Blank still makes time for working out. His favorite T-shirt appropriately reads, “There is no finish line.”