James W. Keyes
As president and CEO of 7-Eleven, he was responsible for more than 40,000 stores across 19 countries worldwide and the launch into new global markets before it was acquired by Seven and I Holding Co. (OTC ADR: SVNDY) in 2005. Under Keyes’ leadership, 7-Eleven achieved nearly 40 quarters of same store sales growth and realized a 10-fold increase in shareholder value.
As chairman and CEO of Blockbuster, Keyes established the company as the leader in the nascent streaming video market. He helped it survive the 2008 financial crisis through a successful restructuring and sale to Dish Networks that preserved more than 19,000 jobs. Later, as chairman and CEO of Wild Oats Marketing, he developed a line of 250 consumer products in collaboration with Walmart which was sold through more than 3,000 Walmart stores nationwide.
Keyes has been active in philanthropy in support of the arts, medicine, and education. He established Education is Freedom, a nonprofit foundation nationally recognized as a leader in college, career and life-readiness programs that has funded more than $450 million in fellowships, scholarships, and other educational programs. He has also served on the Board of Trustees for College of the Holy Cross since 2017 and on the board of overseers for the Columbia Business School since 2010.
He has been a member of Dallas Symphony Association’s board of governors since 2001, including serving as chairman. Since 2005, he has served on the board of directors and as chair of the Investment committee for the Cooper Institute. a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting health and wellness through research, education, and advocacy.
In 2005, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans recognized Keyes with its Horatio Alger Award which is given to leaders in the community who exemplify “honesty, hard work, self-reliance and perseverance.”
An avid pilot, he previously served as chairman of Aggressor Air, a U.S. Military top gun training group. Keyes earned his A.B. from College of the Holy Cross and MBA from Columbia Business School.
To learn more, visit jameswkeyes.com or LinkedIn here.
Farar is a managing member of JDF Investments Company, which has specialized in corporate development and financing merger transactions for over 35 years.
He is currently the chairman of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (USACPD), appointed by former President Obama and approved by the United States Senate. USACPD reports to the president of the United States and secretary of state.
In 2021, he was appointed as one of four U.S. representatives for the 76th Session General Assembly of the United Nations. Farar was earlier nominated and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as the United States Representative to the 54th General Assembly at the United Nations.
Farar was appointed to serve as a commissioner for the $12 billion Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension’s Trustee Fund in 2002. In 2001, he was appointed to the Woodrow Wilson Council, the private sector advisory board of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC.
Earlier, he received a presidential appointment to the Advisory Committee on the Arts of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Farar is currently an associate at the University of Southern California Law School.
To learn more, visit state.gov/biographies/sim-farar or LinkedIn here.