John W. Bachmann is a senior partner at investment firm Edward Jones, where he has spent his nearly six decade-long financial services career. Mr. Bachmann is credited with helping build Edward Jones into one of America’s leading financial services institutions. Bachmann received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the university on May 19, 2017.
Mr. Bachmann grew up in Salem, Illinois, and credits his grandfather for instilling in him a passion for investing and finance. He began his career at Edward Jones, which is headquartered in St. Louis, as a part-time college intern in 1959.
After completing his undergraduate studies in 1960 at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, and earning an MBA from Northwestern University, he joined the firm full time.
For the next two decades, Mr. Bachmann worked his way up the ranks of the company, gaining experience in strategic planning, corporate finance and technology.
By January 1980, he succeeded Edward D. “Ted” Jones Jr., the founder’s son, as managing partner of Edward Jones.
Building upon Mr. Jones’ philosophy of serving the needs of individual investors from one-financial advisor offices, Mr. Bachmann helped Edward Jones grow from a regional firm of 200 offices in 28 states to more than 9,000 offices throughout the United States and, through its affiliate, in Canada. Today, it serves eight million clients with 13,000 branches.
Under Mr. Bachmann’s visionary tenure, he reached out to Peter Drucker, considered the father of management, to consult on the firm’s expansion plans, which included aggressively targeting metropolitan areas for expansion of its branch-office network.
For six consecutive years during Mr. Bachmann’s leadership, Fortune magazine named Edward Jones one of the nation’s best companies to work for. In 2002 and 2003, the firm topped the magazine’s list, with Fortune noting that 97 percent of the company’s employees praised management’s honesty.
Edward Jones recently was ranked No. 5 on the “Best Companies” list, the 14th time it has ranked in the top 10.
Mr. Bachmann established the firm’s groundbreaking diversity and benefit plans and initiated a minority scholarship program. Edward Jones won honors for its diversity efforts from organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and the BDPA, formerly known as Black Data Processing Associates.
In the late 1980s, Mr. Bachmann served two terms as chairman of the Securities Industry Association, helping lead the industry during the October 1987 stock market crash and resulting economic turbulence. He was the only two-term chairman in the group’s history. He is also a former chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
In 2003, Mr. Bachmann stepped down as managing partner at Edward Jones and became a senior partner.
His commitments to the St. Louis community are numerous, including serving as campaign chairman of the United Way of Greater St. Louis; chairman of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and of the St. Louis Symphony; and a commissioner of the Saint Louis Science Center.
He joined Washington University’s Board of Trustees in 1996 and completed four four-year terms before being named an emeritus trustee in 2011.
In 2005, Mr. Bachmann was awarded the Winston Churchill Medal for Leadership, an honor reserved for civic and business leaders who emulate and exemplify the leadership qualities demonstrated by Sir Winston Churchill. The two previous recipients had been Walter Cronkite and William H. Danforth.
Other honors include induction into the Edward Jones Hall of Fame in 2010, the firm’s Touchstone Award in 2015 and St. Louis Citizen of the Year Award in 2002.
He has taught in the Professional MBA programs at both Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California, where he is a trustee, and at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, where he received a 2013 Honorary Life Member Award from the university’s alumni association. Mr. Bachmann currently serves on the Executive MBA board at the University of Missouri.
Mr. Bachmann has served on numerous boards, including American Airlines, Monsanto and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
He resides in St. Louis with his wife, Katharine I. Butler-Bachmann, J.D., a Distinguished Professor Emerita of Law at the University of South Carolina School of Law and, for several years, a visiting professor of law at Washington University. Mr. Bachmann has two children, John and Kristene, and three grandchildren.