John W. Rogers, Jr.
Chairman, CEO & Chief Investment Officer
Stocking up for Christmas
John’s passion for investing began at age 12, when his father started buying him stocks, instead of toys, for Christmas and birthdays. At first, John was disappointed. He wanted something he could play with right away. But months later, when the dividend checks started coming in, his obsession with investing was sparked.
By the time John was majoring in Economics at Princeton University, he was an avid investor and enthusiastic follower of the market. He’d also become a skilled basketball player — playing for Princeton’s varsity team under Hall of Fame coach Pete Carril. As captain of the team his senior year, John’s views of entrepreneurship and investing were profoundly shaped by Carril’s courtside philosophy on teamwork, patience and precision.
In 1983, after two-plus years as a stockbroker for William Blair & Company, John founded Ariel Investments. The firm was built on the belief that patient investors are rewarded in the long run and that wealth is best created by investing in quality companies whose true value is realized over time. Ariel's commitment to identifying and realizing long-term value led John to adopt the tortoise — the victor in Aesop's timeless fable — as Ariel's symbol, and the fable's moral — slow and steady wins the race — as its creed.
John’s patient and disciplined approach has resulted in a rare long-term performance track record under a single lead portfolio manager. With time-tested experience, he has guided the firm’s flagship, Ariel Fund, through market highs and lows for the past 30 years.
Knowing first-hand that a passion for investing is a gift — not a given — John wanted to introduce the concept of investing and financial literacy into classrooms. In 1989, he created the Ariel Foundation for this purpose. Today, the Ariel Foundation has evolved into the Ariel Education Initiative, and its primary focus is the Ariel Community Academy and its investment curriculum. John's vision is simple: "We want to help Ariel Community Academy be the best grade school in the city of Chicago. We want to serve as a role model for how other financial services companies can partner with Chicago Public Schools. It's important to invest in our children's futures."
In 2008, John was awarded Princeton University’s highest honor, the Woodrow Wilson Award, presented each year to the alumnus whose career embodies a commitment to national service. In 2013, John was featured alongside legendary investors Warren Buffett, Sir John Templeton and Benjamin Graham in the distinguished book: The World’s 99 Greatest Investors by Magnus Angenfelt. Today, he is regularly featured and quoted in a wide variety of broadcast and print publications and is a contributing columnist to Forbes Magazine.
Under John’s active leadership, Ariel Investments has grown over the last 35 years from just 2 employees to a company of 104 with over $12 billion in assets and products spanning the globe. Needless to say, it’s never a surprise to find out what John wants for Christmas.
Learn more about John W. Rogers, Jr. and the products he manages:
This special program was produced by The HistoryMakers and provides an engaging look into the life and career of John W. Rogers, Jr.
John W. Rogers, Jr. on the key qualities he considers when researching stocks
Learn from John W. Rogers, Jr. how he successfully applies teamwork, patience and hard work both on and off the court
How tough decisions strengthened our investment process
Ariel Fund named to Kiplinger's list of funds that excel at ESG investing
John Rogers and Charlie Bobrinskoy reflect on 35 years of patient investing, lessons learned, the state of the economy, and more
John Rogers shares why his slow, steady and contrarian approach wins the investment race over the long haul
John W. Rogers, Jr. is highlighted alongside legendary investors in Magnus Angenfelt's unique book