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10 Things You Didn't Know about Cleveland Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam

Jimmy Haslam is an American businessman who tends to be best-known to interested individuals because of his ownership of the Cleveland Browns. However, it is important to note that he is still very much involved in the business world, as shown by how he is the current CEO of Pilot Flying J.

1. Lives in Knoxville, TN

Haslam is a native of Knoxville, TN who still lives there in the present time, which makes perfect sense because the Pilot Corporation is headquartered there. On the whole, Knoxville has seen some serious upswings and downswings over the course of its existence. However, there can be no doubt about the fact that it is not just an economic center but also a cultural center for the surrounding region in the present time.

2. Married to Dee Haslam

It is interesting to note that Haslam is married to Dee Haslam, who is a notable businesswoman in her own right. For proof, look no further than the fact that she is the one responsible for running RIVR Media, which is a TV production company that specializes in documentaries as well as reality TV shows. In fact, interested individuals might have heard of some of their projects, seeing as how they include but are not limited to Escaping Polygamy, Trading Spaces, and Whale Wars.

3. Older Brother to Bill Haslam

People who pay attention to Tennessean politics might be curious if Jimmy Haslam is a family member of Bill Haslam, who was the 49th Governor of Tennessee. If so, they would be right to be curious, seeing as how Jimmy Haslam is the older brother of Bill Haslam. For a time, Bill Haslam worked with Jimmy Haslem at Pilot Corporation, but in the late 1990s and early 2000s, he left to pursue opportunities elsewhere. As a result, he was elected the Mayor of Knoxville in 2003, which was followed up by him being elected the Governor of Tennessee in 2011.

4. Roommate of Bob Corker

Curiously, Haslam was the roommate of Bob Corker when the two went to the University of Tennessee. Generally speaking, people will know Corker because he served two terms in the U.S. Senate, during which time he became a Republican critic of President Donald Trump who nonetheless did little to influence the actions of his administration. Besides his political career, Corker was a very successful businessman, with the result that his personal wealth tends to be measured in the tens of millions.

5. Member of Sigma Chi

In school, Haslam was a member of Sigma Chi, which is one of the biggest fraternities that can be found in North America. Its motto is "In hoc signo vinces," which is Latin that tends to be translated as something along the lines of, "In this sign, you shall conquer." For those who are unfamiliar, the sign refers to the Chi Rho, which the future emperor Constantine saw in the vision before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.

6. His Father Founded Pilot Oil Corporation

Haslam's full name is James Arthur Haslam II. His father, the first James Arthur Haslam, was the one who founded Pilot Corporation as the Pilot Oil Corporation by buying an existing gasoline station. From that point on, the first James Arthur Haslam bought more and more gasoline stations, which were followed up by the ownership of travel centers as well. Nowadays, the gasoline stations have been converted into convenience stores, while the travel centers have taken center stage for the corporation as a whole.

7. Current CEO of Pilot Flying J

Currently, Haslam is responsible for running Pilot Flying J as its CEO. In short, Pilot Flying J would be the chain of travel centers situated through the United States as well as Canada that are associated with the Pilot Corporation. Said corporation is the majority owner of Pilot Flying J, while the other two owners are companies as well. One would be FJ Management, while the other would be Berkshire Hathaway.

8. Used to Have an Ownership Stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers

In 2008, Haslam purchased a minority ownership stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, he didn't own it for too long, seeing as how he went for the Cleveland Browns when the chance came up in 2012. Since the NFL forbids owners from having ownership stakes in more than one team, this meant that Haslam got rid of his minority ownership stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for the chance to take control of the Cleveland Browns alongside his wife.

9. Owns Another Sports Franchise

With that said, the Cleveland Browns aren't the sole sports franchise under Haslam and his wife's co-ownership. After all, the two purchased the Columbus Crew Soccer Club in late 2018, thus preventing a proposed relocation of the soccer club to the city of Austin. Besides Haslam and his wife, the former physician for the team Dr. Pete Edwards was involved in the buy-out as well.

10. Hasn't Had Much Success with the Cleveland Browns

So far, Haslam hasn't had much success with the Cleveland Browns in spite of his considerable interest in turning around its fortunes. In part, this is because his company came under investigation for multi-million-dollar fraud close to the start of his ownership, which shook stakeholder confidence in his leadership. Sure, Haslam was never charged because he claimed that he didn't know what had happened, but there are those who have claimed otherwise. As such, Haslam's determination to succeed with the Cleveland Browns has sometimes been interpreted as a desire to rehabilitate his image, particularly since the team has had such an unfortunate performance over the course of its existence. Unfortunately, a true turn-around seems far away, not least because Haslam seems to be struggling to some extent with running a business that is so different from what he knows best.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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