Perhaps best known as co-founder of The Home Depot, Arthur Blank’s Family of Businesses portfolio currently includes the Atlanta Falcons; PGA TOUR Superstore; The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation; Mountain Sky Guest Ranch; Atlanta United; and AMB Group, the parent company of his for-profit businesses. Blank and the Falcons, in partnership with the city of Atlanta and state of Georgia, are the private funders of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which will open in 2017. The stadium will be operated by Atlanta Falcons Stadium Company, a newly-created company also owned by AMB Group, and be home to the Falcons and Atlanta United.
While diverse in nature, all of Blank’s 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 in building his competitive, successful and community-oriented businesses today.
Blank is also dedicated to his own giving back. Through his generosity, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has granted more than $300 million to support early childhood development, education, the arts, and parks and greenspace. The foundation also leads giving programs for each of the for-profit businesses in Blank’s portfolio.
Blank is recognized throughout the country for his personal and professional achievements. In 2012, he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of Georgia. In 2011, Blank was the recipient of the Freeing Voices, Changing Lives Award from the American Institute for Stuttering. In 2010, he was presented the Four Pillar Award – representing the principles of quality, responsibility, vision and integrity – by the Council for Quality Growth.
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 – and the only time in the publication’s 30-year history – 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 the Board of Trustees of The Carter Center, Inc.; the Board of Trustees of The Cooper Institute; and the Board of Trustees of The First Tee.
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 four grandchildren. Consistent with the way he approaches work and life, his favorite T-shirt appropriately reads, “There is no finish line.”