VOL. 126 | NO. 187 | Monday, September 26, 2011
NYC Investor Jones Recalls Memphis Roots
By Andy Meek
Decades before he worked his way to the top of the financial world as a billionaire hedge fund manager and influential market guru, Paul Tudor Jones had an early affinity for the newspaper business.
During his high school years at Memphis University School in the early 1970s, Jones worked at The Daily News. He used a pen name – “Paul Eagle” – and he was the paper’s front page editor during his junior and senior years of college, where he took journalism courses at the University of Memphis.
Jones is the brother of Peter Schutt, president and CEO of The Daily News Publishing Co. Inc. Today, Jones also is one of the most famous and accomplished alumni of the paper, which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year.
This is the latest in a series of stories looking at the past, present and future of The Daily News.
Jones will be a featured speaker at the newspaper’s 125th anniversary celebration Nov. 1 at Memphis Botanic Garden, which starts at 5 p.m. Also scheduled to speak at the event are Schutt and publisher Eric Barnes.
Jones is the founder of Tudor Investment Corp. As a measure of his influence today, The New York Times in a 2007 article headline referred to him as “The Man Who Won as Others Lost,” a description of his famous prediction of the stock market crash of 1987.
In advance of his Memphis appearance, Jones outlined for The Daily News his belief that the economic picture is “going to be bleak for some period of time, unfortunately.”
“We are at the beginning of a major deleveraging process when it comes to all types of credit – private, corporate, financial and most importantly governmental,” Jones said. “We saw the same thing happen in the ‘30s and ‘40s, and it took the country a long time before the economy really began to recover from the credit boom of the 1920s. … Personally, I think there is a decent probability that at some point we will experience a sovereign credit crisis similar to what Europe is experiencing.”
But while he said the “macro situation” won’t be fixed for several more years, he believes in the country’s innate ability to right itself via “the power of American ingenuity.”
Jones is one of the richest men in America, and he’s also behind a variety of charitable endeavors. He’s the founder of the Robin Hood Foundation, which fights poverty in New York City.
Jones made a $35 million gift to the University of Virginia years ago in honor of his and Schutt’s father, John Paul “Jack” Jones, who worked as publisher of The Daily News for more than three decades before turning it over to Schutt.
“Although we are half brothers, Paul and I were raised as true brothers by Jack Jones and our late mother from his birth in 1954 when I was 4 years old,” Schutt said. “I am not surprised at his fame and fortune, as he was always a tenacious and focused fellow. And I am most proud of the fact that, unlike many people who achieve great wealth, Paul has kept his priorities straight and, to his old friends and family, is still a very down-to-earth, compassionate guy.”
One of the things that’s not too widely known about Jones’ life is his brief foray into – and early love of – the newspaper business.
He recalls the same kinds of memories that veterans of the business sometimes mention affectionately, like his memory of “smelling the ink off of the old linotype type machines that were used to print papers once upon a time.”
His other memories from that period include instituting what he said became a popular “bygone days” type of column at the newspaper that recounted history from 75, 50 and 25 years ago on a particular day.
Today, Jones’ charitable work includes helping raise more than $1 billion to fight poverty in New York, in addition to supporting humanitarian work in Africa and founding a charter school in New York.
“The service that I have engaged in on both humanitarian and conservation initiatives is simply the extension of the Christian upbringing I had as a child,” Jones said. “Going to a very religious school like Presbyterian Day School that was steeped in Christian principle went a long way towards teaching me the importance of both service and selflessness. I see a stark contrast of that very nurturing environment with the secular environment in which my children are being brought up in Greenwich, Connecticut. Hopefully I can fill in as a parent where many of the institutions have failed in my children’s lives.
“Like anyone from a good family, probably nobody was more important in my life than my parents who were very compassionate people in their own right and passed that gift of giving on to both me and my brother. Little did I know, that is the secret of true happiness in life.”