The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee on February 16, 1990 · Page 8
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The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee · Page 8

Nashville, Tennessee
Issue Date:
Friday, February 16, 1990
Page 8
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1T TS 8A THg TtHHCSSCAW Friday ft BIWJAItY It. 1990 iTiiey recall the genras and Former Kentucky Gov. John Y. '. Brown Jr. called Jack Massey a busi-; ness "visionary" yesterday upon hearing of his death. Brown, who teamed with Mr. Massey in 1964 to buy the fledgling Kentucky Fried Chicken Corp. from CoL Hariand Sanders, said Mr. Massey was a close personal and business friend. The expansion of Kentucky Fried Chicken from a regional chain to a major worldwide franchise operation began in Nashville when Brown and Mr. Massey, who came out of retirement, bought out the "Colonel" for $2 .million. . Ironically, Brown said. Third National bank advisers had suggested he and Mr. Massey offer Colonel Sanders only $1.5 million. 1- "They were saying how much can a chicken company be worth? But Jack was always a good negotiator because he knew when he had to pay for something that was worth it," Brown said from his Florida home yesterday. '.' Brown said he was profoundly impacted by Mr. Massey. "Jack was my mentor and he was :also my teacher. I was a young, hustling energetic guy, and he was the older, wiser hand. We had a great relationship," Brown said. : "We never had a disagreement except whether our office should be in Nashville or Kentucky. Jack meant ; more to me than anyone else in my , business life and was very important ' in my personal life also. I'll miss him." ; Brown, who resides in Lexington, Ky said that even in has last years, ! Mr. Massey lived for business. ; "I'm sure in the last weeks of his life he was probably negotiating some - business deal," he said. "I went to his 80th birthday party, and he was still as enthusiastic as ever about making a deal. The Ken-; tucky Fried Chicken experience ex-; dted him and probably prolonged his life by 20 years." : He said Mr. Massey was a consu-l mate businessman. Not only did he - have great marketing zeal, but he was iJack C. Massey rites tomorrow Colonel Sanders' Kentucky Fried Chicken and corporate hospital 'chains beginning with HCA. : From the time he attended college until his death, Mr. Massey was active in business and industry. He took more than a dozen companies public and provided major financing for more than 30 others that remained private. His most spectacular successes occurred during the three decades after his first retirement at age 55. In 1982, he was named to the r Forbes 400" list of America's richest jnen, which estimated his worth at about $100 million. : Forbes called him in 1978 "that Jure phenomenon: a late-blooming success," and at one point commented that his "ability to transmit his own enthusiasm, filtered through courtly manners and a thick Southern accent, is at the heart of Massey's formula ." "That's the key to Jack Massey's method: backing people, not propositions," the magazine concluded, and his business successes were based largely on that personal formula. In August 1984, Mr. Massey became1 the first person in the 194-year history of the New York Stock Exchange to have brought three companies to the Exchange, when common stock of the then Winners Corp. was traded there for the first time. . The earlier Exchange listings Kentucky Fried Chicken, in 1969, and HCA in 1970 occurred while he was chairman of both companies. In 1987, his substantial contributions to business earned him a spot alongside such illustrious American names as Henry Ford, J.C Penney, John D. Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington with his induction into the National Business Hall of Fame, sponsored by Junior Achievement Inc to honor individuals who played significant roles in U.S. economic development Honorees are selected each year by the editors of Fortune magazine. "Any way you look at it Massey is exceptional," said Financial World in 1977. As for Mr. Massey, he commented in 1982: "If you're going to be rich, you can't worry about making money. You've got to try to accomplish something." In a life filled with noteworthy accomplishments, Mr. Massey added another when, in 1 986, he supported through a $1.2 million gift the establishment of a business school of "national reputation" at Belmont College. In 1988, he called the groundbreaking ceremony for a new $6 million building to house both the graduate and undergraduate business programs at Belmont the "highlight of my life." In 1979, an Associated Press panel selected him as the most powerful entrepreneur in Tennessee and one of the 20 most powerful Tennesseans. "I don't want power," Mr. Massey said at the time. "I've had many opportunities to exercise power. I want to live my life like I want to live it "Power is the wrong word for me. also "a visionary and be had good people instincts," Brown said. "We played golf together and hit up a fast friendship that grew into thinking about buying the Colonel out" Here's what other business and political leaders had to say about Mr. Massey: Dr. Thomas F. Frist Sr., co-founder of Hospital Corporation of America with Mr. Massey: "The Jack Massey family has lost a devoted and loving husband, father and uncle, and Nashville has lost one of its greatest citizens, and a loyal, devoted and enthusiastic advocate for the community and its people. He was one of the all-time most generous and charitable philanthropists, particularly involving his church, educational facilities and the arts, and he gave countless personal help to unfortunate individuals. His many friends have lost a kind, understanding and sympathic friend. And I personally have lost a close friend of 57 years." Dr. Thomas F. Frist Jr., present chairman of HCA: "I am deeply saddened by the death of Jack Massey, the co-founder of our company, a personal friend and mentor. His achievements in numerous business enterprises are legendary, and his ability to capture and move forward an innovative concept may be his greatest legacy. When Dad, Henry Hooker and I first met with Mr. Massey in 1968 to discuss the concept for operating a group of hospitals, we had no idea that the addition of Jack's foresight and business ability literally would lead to the founding of the investor-owned hospital industry as we know it today. He was truly a business genius." Winf ield Dunn, former Tennessee governor who also served as a senior vice president of HCA and who currently is vice chairman of First Cumberland Bank: "He was among the most unique human beings I've ever met He was brilliant He had discovered the se-. cret of success, and he used his intelli I'm involved in a number of businesses and am active in the management of some. I suppose you could say that this gives me a certain amount of economic power ... Still, I don't think of myself as powerful. "Everyone in the world has a certain amount of power and ability to get things done, if he will simply recognize that power and ask for help." Born in Sandersville, Ga, he began his career as a drugstore delivery boy. He studied pharmacy for a short time under the late Dr. Chester Albert Struby, first full-time dean of Mercer's original pharmacy school in Macon, Ga. He left the University of Florida School of Pharmacy in 1925 and began bis career as a pharmacist and retail druggist . At an early age, he established a chain of six drugstores headquartered in Nashville. Over the years, he sold the stores and founded Massey Surgical Supply, Inc, a purveyor of surgical supplies to hospitals and physicians. In 1961, he sold this company to the AS. Aloe Division of the Brunswick Corp. with the goal of retiring to Florida Bored with retirement Mr. Massey, began a search for a new business challenge, settling upon the then fledgling Kentucky Fried Chicken Co. From his base in Nashville, he had developed a professional relationship with John Y. Brown Jr., an attorney in Lexington, Ky., and later governor of Kentucky, who introduced him in 1963 to the late Col. Hariand Sanders. The "colonel" had sold Sanders Court and Restaurant in 1956 at Cor-bin, Ky., where he developed his patented process for cooking chicken. Sanders had since developed a loosely knit organization of 700 f ranchised dealers, primarily established restaurants, which served chicken cooked with the Colonel's famous "secret blend of 1 1 herbs and spices" and marketed as Kentucky Fried Chicken. In 1964, Colonel Sanders, then 74, indicated to Mr. Massey, then 60, that he was interested in selling his business. After some consideration, Mr. Massey, Brown and Leo Harman, Sanders' first franchisee, agreed to buy the company for $2 million and guaranteed the colorful white-suited colonel, who also sported a gray moustache and beard, a $40,000-a-year salary for life. In exchange, the three men received the rights to all Kentucky Fried Chicken patents and trademarks, as well as the services of Sanders as the company's good will ambassador. As principal shareholder, chairman and chief executive officer, Mr. Massey went to work to boost the fortunes of his new venture. At the time, the fast food industry was just beginning to be defined, and Mr. Massey recognized that there were many opportunities Kentucky Fried Could develop profitably if it were managed effectively. Taking time first to reorganize and develop specific marketing goals and strategies, he led Kentucky Fried on a seven-year period of growth une gence along with that discovery to get "He was a person of great intellect, the most out of Ufa He touched more and a gentle man as well as a gentle-lives than any person will ever ever man. He was a person who always know." saw the big picture." Sam Fleming, former president and chairman of Third National Bank: "Jack Massey was my friend of nearly 60 years. He could and did walk with kings, but he never lost the common touch. He was enormously successful and not afraid to re-invest his gains in new and sometimes venturesome projects because he knew that if he lost, he had the ability to recover. He was the epitome of the American entrepreneur, who did so much to make our nation what it is. With his death, one of the tallest trees in the forest has fallen." Joe M Rodgers, former VS. ambassador to France: "Not only was he great for Nashville, but he was great for individuals like Joe Rodgers. Like the two Tommy Frists, Jack Massey gave me my start in business." Guilford Dudley Jr., former U.S. ambassador to Denmark: "He was a great man and a great friend. He is the only man I know who started three corporations which became listed on the New York Stock Exchange." Gov. Ned McWherten "Jack Massey was a friend to me personally. He was an entrepreneur of the first order. He was someone I admired for his ability to create economic opportunities for thousands of people throughout Tennessee and around the country." Lamar Alexander, University of Tennessee president and former governor "Jack had a gift for seeing a long way, thinking big and then working and working until things happened." James Webb Jr., former chairman of Nashville City Bank, now Dominion Bank of Middle Tennessee: qualled since in the food service industry. He focused on the human resource element and emphasized management skills and talents. Instead of selling franchise rights on a store-by-store basis to realize quick cash re turns, as others did, he developed an organization designed for long-term viability. Under Mr. Massey's direction, Kentucky Fried began to offer franchisee . contracts for entire communities and regions. In return, the company was guaranteed a steady income flow in the form of a percentage of gross store sales. He founded Massey Investment Co., a venture capital company which became the primary equipment lessor to Kentucky Fried and which financed some of Kentucky Fried's operations. He continued as chairman and chief executive officer of Massey Investment until his death. His management team there established standards for the promotion of fast food service and innovations such as the takeout window, as well as developing the red-and-white striped buildings still recognized as the restaurants' trademark. "Jack Massey deserves credit for creating the modern fast-food industry," Forbes said in a 1976 article. And nine years earlier Business Week had said, "The new owners have converted Kentucky Fried Chicken from . the one-man show it was under Sanders ... into a smoothly run corporation with all the trappings of modern management" By 1971, when Kentucky Fried Chicken had grown to a $500 million enterprise of 2,965 restaurants around the globe, it was bought by Heublein, Inc., for common stock valued at about $239 million. By then Mr. Massey already had been dividing his personal energies for several years between that company and HCA, which he helped form in 1968. HCA was founded in Nashville by Mr. Massey, Dr. Thomas Frist Sr. and Dr. Thomas Frist Jr. Until his retirement in 1981, Mr. Massey served at different times as chairman of the board, chief executive officer, chairman of the executive committee and a member of the board of directors of HCA. Hospitals had been owned by individuals for profit as early as the turn of the century, but investorowned health care as an industry was initiated by HCA. Mr. Massey's Interest in hospital care dated back to his ownership of Massey Surgical Supply. More than once then, when a hospital was unable to pay his company for supplies, he would become involved in its management until it was sound enough to satisfy its creditors. The 15-year history of HCA proved an even more dramatic success for him than Kentucky Fried Chicken. From one hospital in 1968, HCA grew into ownership or management of nearly 400 facilities worldwide. "With the energy and dedication of a man half his age," said Financial kindness of Jack E.W.(Bud) Wendell, chief executive officer of Opryland USA Inc. and president of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce: "He obviously was one of greatest leaders in the history of Nashville. He will be well known for his contributions to business, the arts and education." John Seigenthaler, chairman, publisher and chief executive officer of The Tennessean: "Jack Massey was a great entrepreneur, philanthropist and friend. We will miss him." Edward G. Nelson, chief executive officer of Nelson Capital Corp. and honorary consul general to Japan: "Jack Massey was a unique, driving force a person who seemed to gain more energy and excitement with each year. He was a very tough negotiator who liked winning but enjoyed even more playing the game of business." Richard Fulton, former Nashville mayor "All too often Nashville loses some of its outstanding citizens. Jack Massey will long be remembered in the pages of Nashville's history as an astute businessman with an acute sense of responsibiltiy to his community and fellow beings." Dennis Bottorff, president and chief executive officer of Sovran Financial Corp. in Norf ork, Va, and former chairman of Commerce Union Bank in Nashville, now merged with Sovran: "I really credit him for a lot of the successes for Commerce Union Bank and, in many ways, to my own personal successes. In the banking business, you meet many types of people. Mr. Massey was a man whose word was his bond." Jack C Massey stands in front chain that he helped found. Park World in a 1977 article, "Massey has been busy at Hospital Corporation chipping away at costs and developing long-range plans for the company." While he was still involved in managing HCA, he turned part of his attention to the development of Volunteer Capital Corp., incorporated in 1971. The company was engaged principally in the equipment leasing business through 1974, but Mr. Massey, realizing that this industry would offer only limited growth opportunities, turned his mind once again to the food service industry and the company became involved in it with the purchase of Wendy's of South Carolina Inc Volunteer Capital followed this up with the purchase of Granny's of Atlanta Inc, a chain of 21 fried chicken restaurants, in 1979. After a disappointing year in 1980, - in which the company posted a loss of $101,000, its every aspect was re-evaluated. Following Mr. Massey's recommendation, many changes were made, Including forming a new management team, A formal operating plan was instituted, the accounting department was centralized and control systems were developed to provide senior management with day-to-day information on operations. The next year, the company posted profits of $1,488,000 on record revenues of $724)56,000. To maintain the improved position of the company, Mr. Massey and his senior staff decided to focus its future on its chicken division. Its name was changed to Winners Corp. and the chain of Mrs. Winner's Fried Chicken restaurants, later changed to Mrs. Winner's Chicken & Biscuits, was developed. In 1989, the company divested Itself of its chicken business and the name was changed back to Volunteer Capital Corp. Mr. Massey in association with Lucius E. Burch ID co-founded the Mas-sey-Burch Investment Group in 1981. It became well known for Its discretionary investment capacity. In June 1984, the company was named to Venture magazine's "Venture Capital 100," and in July TVA selected Massey-Burch Investments to invest over a 10-year period. $30 million It had received in a court settlement with Gulf Oil Corp. over nuclear fuels. In 1975 Mr. Massey was awarded a doctor of humane letters degree by A, Donald S. McNaughton, chairman of the executive committee of Health-Trust Inc: "He was the one who brought me to Nashville to be the chairman of HCA. I recognized, from the minute I met him, that he was an outstanding businessman. He always had a fine grasp of things. He will be sorely missed." Joe B. Wy art, chancellor of Van-derbilt University: "Like so many of those who knew Jack Massey, I learned of his passing with great sadness and a sense of loss. He was truly a delightful friend always with a fresh idea or a new enterprise to propose. His gift for bargaining was legendary but so was his cheerful optimism." Alexander Heard, chancellor emeritus of Vanderbilt University: "Jack Massey's extraordinarily versatile, creative and successful business career wrought major benefits for the extensive and diverse publics his enterprises served. His remarkably generous financial support for a wide variety of educational and health services made him a citizen of large and singular significance from whose work and life millions have benefited.-" Andrew Benedict Jr., senior chairman of First American National Bank: 'Tve known Jack practically all of his business life. He was one of those rare persons who had an extra feel for things financial and he could determine whether a situation was good or bad as quick anybody I ever knew." William E. Troutt, president of Belmont College: "Belmont College has lost a great friend in Jack Massey, a man whose vision, encouragement, and support ' have enabled Belmont College to grow and develop as a quality institution.". Wayne Brown, dean of the Jack C 1 : 1- rY,Ni ? ' ii: of Park View Hospital, part of the Hospital Corporation of America View is now part of Centennial Medical Center. Belmont College, the first honorary degree extended by Belmont In its 25-year history. He also received the honorary doctor of science degree at Mercer University's Pharmacy School in Atlanta in 1976. In 1983, he was named Nashvillian of the Year by the Nashville Kiwanis Club "for his multiple successes in the business world and for his unusual stewardship in snaring so generously the blessings that have attended the efforts of his head, bis hands and his heart" In 1984, Mr. Massey participated in the dedication of Vanderbilt Plaza, a $43 million hotel-office complex on West End Avenue, in which he was a principal investor. Like HCA, Vanderbilt Plaza was a product of bis 50-year friendship with Dr. Thomas Frist Sr. While still a pharmacist in the 1940s, Mr. Massey had bought four houses on the corner on which the striking 343-room hotel and 1 1-story office tower was constructed. He used one house as his warehouse, another for his surgical supply business and rented the other two. Frist had bought one of them from Mr. Massey in 1948 to use as an office for his cardiological practice. "It's been our pet project for the past 10 years," Mr. Massey said at the time of the dedication. "We had been talking about it for a hotel first then we thought we wanted an office building, and then we decided to build both." The hotel is now operated as Loews Vanderbilt Plaza, following its recent sale. On behalf of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, he assisted in the purchase of Protestant Hospital in Nashville that later became Baptist Hospital. Mr. Massey served as its chairman for 12 years and as a member of its board of trustees for 20 years, during which time it grew from a small hospital to one of the Mid-South's largest medical centers. Mr. Massey had been a member of the executive committee of Nashville CttyBank & Trust Co. (now Dominion BanH), a member of the board of directors of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, a director of Thomas Nelson Publishers Inc Cummings Inc United Tennessee Bancshares Corp Spectronics Inc Applied Lasers Inc Royal Publishing Co., Management Telecommunications Systems Inc and Enterprise Fabrica-' Massey Massey Graduate School of Business at Belmont College: "The loss of Jack Massey is both a personal and professional tragedy for me. I have been associated with Mr. Massey throughout the decade of the 80s, and he became a strong and positive influence in my life. His vision for Belmont College and for Nashville became such a part of my life that I left my career in state government five years ago to devote full time to its implementation." Irby Simpkins, publisher of the Nashville Banner. " "This community will miss the aspiration and motivation of the unique person of Jack Massey ... The new Jack Massey School of Business at Belmont is a fitting memorial for the life of this visionary businessman." E. Branson Ingram, chairman of Ingram Industries: "He made an indelible mark on this community as a businessman and as a philanthropist who was generous not only with his success and his means but also with his time and support for a wide variety of activities from the Massey business school through all the more traditional charitable endeavours of the community." Ken Roberts, chairman and chief executive officer of First American Corp.: "Jack Massey made a major impact on the world of business. His career is an inspiration to all of us and his accomplishments both as a bu-sinesman and a citizen will long be remembered." Nancy Bennett, interim director at Outlook Nashville: "It is almost ironic that Mr. Massey died on the very day we moved into our new building of which he and bis wife, Aylene, chaired our capital campaign." Contributing to this story were: Rob Bingham, Jim Ottora, Emm Nelson Baxter, Randy Hilman and Cindy Smith. SJcklawson tors Inc. He was chairman of the American Retirement Corp., and a member of the American Pharmaceutical Association and the Nashville Rotary Club. He was a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason, a Shriner, a member of Alpha Tau Omega social fraternity and a Baptist deacon. He was a trustee of Montgomery Bell Academy and the Nashville YMCA Foundation. He was a founder and first chairman of the Tennessee Performing Arts Foundation which oversees the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville. Among the beneficiaries of his many philanthropic causes are the Tennessee Botanical Gardens and Fine Arts Center at Cheekwood, Montgomery Bell Academy, the Vanderbilt University School of Law, the United Way, and the Planned Parenthood chapters of both Palm Beach and Nashville. Mr. and Mrs. Massey gave the front gardens at Blair House, which Is the . presidential guest house In Washing- . ton,D.G .He was confidant and adviser to a -number of state and national figures in government industry and the political arena including presidents, governors and members of Congress. He belonged to the Belle Meade Country Club in Nashville, the Everglades Club and Bath and Tennis Club in Palm Beach, the Bathing Corp. and Meadow Club in Southhampton, N.Y and the Links Club in New York City. Mr. Massey was the son of Jodie Brown and Harris Benton Massey of Sandersville, Ga In 1971, he married Alyne Queener Armistead of Franklin, Tena She survives. Also surviving are a daughter, Barbara Massey Clark, and two stepsons, Leonard H. Armistead III and Robert Hunter Frierson Armistead: three grandchildren, Elisabeth Jean Clark, G. Daniel dark and Jack D. Massey, all of Nashville. His first wife, Elizabeth Polak Massey, died in 1969, followed by a son, Donald J. Massey In 1 977. The family requests memorials be made to FOCUS at 1 13 8th Ave. S., Nashville, 37203, or to Junior Achievement, 2000 Murphy Ave Nashville, 37203. Chart L. Fontanay, now retired, did much of the research and writing for this ' article.

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