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Drayton McLane

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Drayton McLane

Drayton McLane, Jr.
George H. W. Bush, April 2010
Born (1936-07-22) July 22, 1936 (age 78)
Residence Temple, Texas
Citizenship United States
Education Baylor University
Michigan State University
Occupation Chairman of McLane Group, CEO of McLane Advanced Technologies
Net worth Increase US $ 1.5 billion (est.)
(February 2010)[1]
Spouse(s) Elizabeth
Children two

Drayton McLane, Jr. is an American entrepreneur. He is chairman of the McLane Group, a high technology firm. He was, until 1990, the CEO of the McLane Company, a grocery and food service warehouse, supply, and logistics firm, and was, from 1993 until 2011, the chairman and CEO of the Major League Baseball's Houston Astros. On the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans, he was ranked #301 in 2008 with an estimated net worth of $1.6 billion[2] and #272 in 2009 with an estimated net worth of $1.45 billion.[3]

Personal history

He was born (1936-07-22) July 22, 1936 (age 78) in Cameron, Texas. His father, Drayton McLane, Sr., owned a wholesale grocery distribution center. At age nine, the young McLane went to work for his father's business that had been established by his grandfather, Robert McLane, in 1894. His grandfather came from Abbeville, S.C., to Cameron, Texas, in the late 1800s and worked as a farm laborer until about 1885, when he was able to buy and build a small retail grocery and in 1894 went into the wholesale grocery business in a small way. McLane, Jr., spent most Saturdays and summers during his teen years sweeping floors and learning various aspects of the wholesale grocery business. He graduated from C.H. Yoe High School in Cameron in 1954.

He earned his undergraduate degree at Baylor University in 1958 and his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in marketing at Michigan State University in 1959. After graduation, McLane, Jr., returned home and went to work for his father. For the first 18 months, he worked the second (night) shift loading trucks. Three years later he moved into management as vice president of purchasing. He then served 14 years as general manager of operations. He became president and CEO of McLane Company in 1978 and chairman in 1992.

During his years with the company, Drayton McLane, Jr., assisted his father in building an effective grocery distribution network that served convenience stores, supermarkets, and the fast-food industry nationwide. He used computer-based technology to enhance the distribution system. He was largely responsible for expanding the family business from a three million dollar a year operation into a 19 billion dollar enterprise.[4]

As President and CEO of McLane Company from 1965 to 1994, he added 16 distribution facilities across the US. During that time the company experienced an average yearly sales growth of 30 percent. During those years, Drayton Jr. served as President of the Texas Wholesale Grocers Association (1970-1971) and Chairman of the National American Wholesale Grocers Association (1986-1988).[5]

He sold the family business to tennis partner Sam Walton for cash and Wal-Mart shares in 1990. He invested much of the profits in pro baseball's Houston Astros. He continued as chairman of McLane Co. and was named vice chairman of Wal-Mart Corporation. In 1993, he resigned both of these positions in order to devote his full-time as Chairman of McLane Group, which is a holding company founded in 1992. He currently serves as the CEO of McLane Advanced Technologies.

Owner of Houston Astros

From the time he purchased the team in 1993 to 2005, the Astros ranked fifth in the Majors and second in the National League in winning percentage (.543).[6]

The Astros 2005 season was the most successful season on the field for the Houston franchise. Winning the National League Pennant to advance to the World Series, Houston hosted the first World Series game ever played in the State of Texas. However, the Astros, who had rallied from a losing record earlier in the season, were swept by the Chicago White Sox in four games, granting the White Sox its first championship in 88 years.

Recently, the online version of Sports Illustrated, the most widely circulated weekly sports magazine in America, contended that McLane was "over-involved" and "won't ever let [the Astros] revamp, rebuild or even rejigger."[7] Since their sole appearance in the World Series the Astros sport a losing record that places the just below a .500 a winning percentage with 241 wins and 244 losses (.497).

McLane announced November 21, 2010, that the Astros franchise is for sale. It is valued somewhere around $1.17 billion by McLane, but no price tag has been set. McLane prefers that potential buyers come to him with their own valuations. A recent regional television deal puts the Astros on a similar footing as other National League teams, and should help with the income side of this transaction. The 74 year old McLane said the sale was for "family" reasons, and he was joined in the announcement by his two adult sons, Drayton III and Denton. It was sold on Nov 17th, 2011 for $610 million.[8]

McLane Group

McLane devotes his time to McLane Group,[9] the family holding company for these corporations:

  • McLane Advanced Technologies, LLC. - Currently serving as CEO.
  • Hometown Favorites
  • Classic Foods
  • McLane Global
  • McLane Logistics Technologies
  • McLane Information Systems
  • McLane Group L.P.
  • McLane Polska
  • McLane Portugal
  • McLane Glass Blowing
  • McLane Ranch, L.P.
  • RDM Commerce, Inc.
  • McLane Cattle, LLC
  • Leading Edge Flavors
  • McLane International

Volunteer activities

McLane and his wife, Elizabeth, have two adult sons, Drayton III and Denton. They are active members of First Baptist Church of Temple, where Drayton teaches Sunday School and currently serves as an active deacon.

Michigan State University Activities and Philanthropy: By the spring of 2009, the McLane family will have literally brought “new life” to its baseball facility through a $4 million commitment to enhance one of the most pristine environments in all of intercollegiate athletics. On September 12, 2008, the MSU Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve the naming of Drayton McLane Baseball Stadium at John H. Kobs Field.

McLane puts aside a large amount of time to serve on civic and charitable committees. Drayton Jr. currently serves as: VP of Executive Board—Boy Scouts of America; Chairman of Board of Trustees—Scott and White Memorial Hospital; Member of National Board of Governors—Cooper Institute of Aerobics Research; director—Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University; Member of the Greater Houston Partnership; Member of United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast.

His past civic duties include: Chairman—United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast’s Pacesetter Campaign; Member—Children’s Miracle Network National Board of Governors; Chairman of the Board—Children’s Miracle Network; Member—Texas State Board of Mental Health and Mental Retardation; Chairman of Board of Trustees—Baylor University; Chairman of Board of Regents—Baylor University; Chairman of Temple (Texas) Chamber of Commerce; Trustee—South Texas College of Law. He also serves as a Trustee for the Baylor College of Medicine. In the religious community of Temple, Texas, he has served as the chairman of the Deacon Board of First Baptist Church.[5]

He is a major benefactor of both Baylor University where the McLane Student Life Center and the acclaimed McLane carillons are named in his honor, and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (UMHB) in Belton, Texas, where McLane Hall honors him. He sponsors the McLane Lectures at UMHB, bringing to campus such notables as former President George H.W. Bush, Honorable Sean O'Keefe (Former NASA Administrator and Current Chancellor of Louisiana State University), and Barbara Bush, former first lady of the US.

In 2005, Scott and White Memorial Hospital in Temple honored Drayton and his wife by creating the Elizabeth and Drayton McLane, Jr., Chair in Health and Wellness, a new endowed chair that is a joint appointment between the hospital and the Texas A&M University Health Science Center College of Medicine.

Honors and awards

  • 2006 Field Service Award for Supply Chain Management: International Society of Logistics (SOLE)
  • 2004 Distinguished Citizen Award: Boy Scouts of America
  • 2004 Silver Buffalo Award: Boy Scouts of America
  • 2002 Distinguished Leadership Award: Leadership Houston
  • 2000 Father of the Year Award: Houston Community Partners
  • 1998 Herbert Hoover Food Industry Award:Food Distributors International
  • 1997 Honorary Doctorate: Michigan State University
  • 1997 Golden Plate Award: American Academy of Achievement
  • 1995 Texas Baseball Hall of Fame inductee
  • 1993 Master Entrepreneur of the Year: Texas A & M University
  • 1992 Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation inductee
  • 1991 W.R. White Meritorious Service Award
  • 1990 American Achiever Award: National American Wholesale Grocers Association
  • 1990 Distinguished Alumni Award: Baylor University
  • 1990 Food Distributor Man of the Year: Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith
  • 1989 Heart of Texas Council
  • 1989 Distinguished Citizen Award: Boy Scouts of America
  • 1988 Silver Antelope Award: Boy Scouts of America:
  • 1987 Entrepreneur of the Year: Arthur Young/VENTURE Magazine
  • 1985 Management Excellence and Achievement Award: the University of Georgia School of Business


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