James A. Johnson

Chairman, Johnson Capital Partners

James A. Johnson has over five decades of experience in politics, public service, business, and philanthropy. He’s served as Chairman of Johnson Capital Partners from 2001 to the present. Mr. Johnson has over 100 years of cumulative service on the corporate boards of NYSE-traded companies, including: Forestar Group, Gannett, Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Target Corporation, Temple Inland, UnitedHealth Group, and Fannie Mae. 

Mr. Johnson was Vice Chairman of Perseus LLC from 2000-2012. Prior to joining Perseus, Mr. Johnson served as Vice Chairman (1990), Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (1991-1998), and Chairman of the Executive Committee (1999) of Fannie Mae. When Mr. Johnson retired in 1999, Fannie Mae was the 26th largest company in the United States according to Fortune Magazine. During his tenure, James A. Johnson was named Washingtonian Magazine Washingtonian of the Year (1998) and received honorary degrees from Colby College (1997) and Howard University (1999). The company and he received the Helen Hayes KPMG Award for Distinguished Community Service in 1995.

Before joining Fannie Mae, Mr. Johnson was a Managing Director in Corporate Finance at Shearson Lehman. Prior to joining Shearson Lehman, he was President of Public Strategies, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm he co-founded with Ambassador Richard Holbrooke to advise corporations on strategic issues. From 1977 to 1981, Mr. Johnson was Executive Assistant to Vice President Walter F. Mondale where he advised the Vice President on domestic and foreign policy and political matters. Earlier, he was employed by the Dayton Hudson Corporation (Target Corporation), worked as a staff member in the U.S. Senate, and was on the faculty of Princeton University.

James A. Johnson serves as Chairman Emeritus of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and The Brookings Institution. Currently, Mr. Johnson chairs the Advisory Council of the Stanford Center on Longevity. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Council of the National Museum of African American History. He’s a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and he also serves on the International Council of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard.

James A. Johnson holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota and a Masters in Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. In addition to Howard University and Colby College, Mr. Johnson has received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Skidmore College (2002), Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Augsburg College (2006) and an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Minnesota (2006).