CEO Salt Lake City Olympic Games, Former Governor of Massachusetts, and Presidential Candidate
Mitt Romney was elected governor of Massachusetts in 2002. While in office, he served as the chairman of the Republican Governors Association. He sought the Republican nomination for president of the United States in 2008. His credits as a professional in business are extensive. Romney was CEO of Bain & Company, a successful management consulting firm. He also acted as co-founder of Bain Capital, a private equity investment firm. Perhaps he is greatest known for his work as the CEO and organizer of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Romney is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes erroneously called the Mormon Church. His presidential candidacy has caused a firestorm of religious debate, often fraught with misconceptions, and even lies about the LDS Church. One writer even called negative sentiment against the Church “the last acceptable bigotry.”
Romney was born in 1947, and grew up in Detroit, Michigan. His father, George Romney, served as the governor of Michigan. He comes from an active Mormon family.
Romney met his future wife, Anne Davies, while attending Cranbook Kingswood School. He continued his education at Stanford University, taking two years off to serve as a Mormon missionary in France. He returned to earn his B.A. at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He graduated as valedictorian, graduating with Highest Honors in 1971. Shortly after graduation, Romney attended Harvard Business School where he graduated in the top 5% of his class. After business school, his career led him to be vice president and president of Bain & Company Inc., and founded Bain Capital, one of the most successful private investment firms in the nation.
It was Romney’s involvement in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games that made Romney a household name, a famous Mormon. In 1999, many worried that the budget for the games needed to be cut back due to fiscal crisis. There was also talk that bribery existed among top officials, including then Salt Lake Olympic Committee (SLOC) President and CEO Frank Joklik. The city was not ready for the Olympics. Venues needed to be built. There was a lack of adequate space and parking to host the games. The 2002 Winter Games was in need of strong leadership. Mitt Romney was the perfect choice. His involvement in the Mormon Church in various positions has strengthened his skills as a leader.
On February 11, 1999, the committee named Romney the new president and CEO of the Salt Lake City Games. Many attribute the success of the 2002 winter games to Romney. Revamping the leadership and policies, reducing budgets and boosting fundraising saved the winter games from disaster. He also heightened the safety measures due to the possibility of a terrorist attack. Because of Romney’s leadership, the 2002 winter Olympics actually ended up clearing a profit of $100 million. His work for the Olympics won him worldwide respect and praise. President George Bush said, “Mitt, you did a fabulous job.”
Romney is an incredibly charitable person. He contributed $1 million to the Olympics, and donated all three years of the salary he earned as President and CEO to charity.
As governor, he signed legislation to provide health insurance to virtually all citizens of Massachusetts without raising taxes. He was active in drafting education reforms. He created reforms to avoid fiscal crisis.
Romney is strongly committed to his wife, Ann. They have five grown sons. He is an active member of the LDS Church and his commitment to the Church can be seen in all aspects of his life.