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F Phillip Handy

Phil Handy

Trustee Emeritus
McCain Institute for International Leadership

Since October, 2001, F. Philip Handy has served as the chief executive officer of Strategic Industries, a portfolio of 15 companies in the diversified service and manufacturing businesses. All of the companies have been significantly restructured and taken globally, 13 have been sold.

Until January, 2007, he served for six years as chairman of the Florida State Board of Education, a seven person board appointed by Governor Jeb Bush, which has constitutional responsibility for Florida’s public educational system (over 4 million students). Handy has been appointed twice by President George W. Bush to the National Board of Education Sciences (confirmed by the U.S. Senate), where he has served as vice chairman.

Handy currently serves on the public Board of Directors of Anixter International, Inc., the world’s leading distributor of wire and cable; Rewards Network, Inc., the only national dining rewards company; Owens Corning, a world leader in building materials systems and composite solutions. He also sits on the private Boards of Directors for Study Group International, leaders in international education and training and WRS Infrastructure and Environment, Inc., a national environmental and remediation company.

He is a member of the Board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and an advisor to the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He also co-chaired Senator John McCain’s Florida Presidential Campaign and served as chairman of Senator McCain’s National Policy Council on Education.

He is a member of the Chief Executives Organization, and is a member of the World Presidents’ Organization. He has been a member of the Florida Governor’s Council of 100 since 1987.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics, and graduated cum laude from Princeton University and later earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. He completed the sixth forum at The Rugby School and graduated from Northfield Mount Hermon School and received the doctorate of laws “h.c.” from Flagler College. He also served six years in the U.S. Army Reserve and was honorably discharged in 1973.

Handy has owned and operated many businesses. They include Maryland Club Foods, a nationally branded coffee/beverage company (purchased from Coca Cola), Majik Markets, a 1000 store food/gasoline retailer, and Equality Specialties, a package decoration wholesaler. He has also served as the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of two public companies, Chart House Restaurant Group and Rewards Networks. From 1996 through 1999, Handy was managing director of Equity Group Corporate Investments, a private investment firm controlled by Sam Zell. Handy was a securities analyst at Fidelity Management and Research from 1968 to 1970. He then joined Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette where he served as Vice President from 1970 to 1976. In 1976, he became the CEO of Combanks, a multiple bank holding company based in Orlando, Florida. In 1980 he commenced his career in the private equity business.

In the political and eleemosynary area, Handy served as the state chairman of Jeb Bush’s gubernatorial campaigns in Florida in 1993-94 and 1997-98; and as co-chairman of Jeb Bush’s 2002 gubernatorial campaign. In 1991 and 1992, he was chairman of Limited Political Terms, a political committee, which led the most successful petition drive in Florida’s history, which resulted in a 77 percent affirmative vote. Handy has chaired nine statewide political races (won 5, lost 4).

Handy served as a Trustee of the Northfield Mount Hermon School (his alma mater), where he has served as Treasurer and as a member of the Executive Committee. He was a member of the Board of Overseers of Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business. For ten years he was a member, and the president for three years, of the Board of Trustees of the Orlando Museum of Art. In 1980, Handy was appointed by Governor Bob Graham to serve on the Investment Advisory Board for the State Board of Administration (the State’s pension fund manager). He served as chairman of the Investment Advisory Committee from 1982 to 1986.

In 1989 and 1990, he served on the Governor’s Commission on the Future of Florida’s Environment, which helped create Preservation 2000. In September 1989, he was appointed by the Governor to the Board of Directors of PRIDE of Florida (Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises, Inc.) and served as Chairman of the Board until December 1992.

Handy was a long distance runner who successfully completed the New York, London and Sydney marathons. He is now a passionate bicyclist – both mountain and road.