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Dick DeVos : biography

21 October 1955 -

Dick DeVos (born Richard Marvin DeVos, Jr., October 21, 1955) is an entrepreneur-businessman from Michigan. The son of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos, he served as CEO of the consumer goods distribution company from 1993–2002. In 2005, DeVos launched the most expensive gubernatorial campaign in the history of Michigan, totaling more than $41 million. Ultimately, DeVos lost on November 7, 2006, to Democratic incumbent Jennifer Granholm.

Business activities

DeVos began working with Amway Corporation in 1974, holding positions in various divisions, including research and development, manufacturing, marketing, sales, and finance. In 1984, he became one of Amway's vice presidents, with overall responsibility for the company's operations in 18 countries. Under his leadership, the company opened numerous new markets and tripled international sales to exceed domestic sales for the first time in company history.

In 1989, DeVos left Amway to start a new business venture, The Windquest Group. When the DeVos family acquired the National Basketball Association's Orlando Magic basketball franchise in 1991, DeVos became President and CEO of the team. He left both positions in January 1993 to rejoin Amway as its President, succeeding his father, Amway co-founder Rich DeVos. Under DeVos, Alticor expanded operations to more than 50 countries and territories on six continents.

In 2000, DeVos oversaw a significant corporate restructuring that created Alticor, the new parent company of predecessor Amway, as well as other subsidiary companies. In a 20-month span, Alticor cut over 1,300 jobs (primarily in Michigan) during this restructuring, with 400 of them being buyouts and early retirement. Job cuts were one of several cut backs made during the corporate restructuring of Amway in order to expedite the return to profitability and prevent further downsizing or the possible loss of the company.

DeVos retired as president of Alticor in August 2002. In that fiscal year, Alticor reported sales of $4.5 billion, primarily through its more than 3.5 million mostly part-time sales force and its complementary e-commerce channel. After retiring from Alticor, DeVos returned to become president of The Windquest Group.

He is the author of the 1998 book Rediscovering American Values.

Current posts and board memberships

  • President, The Windquest Group
  • Member, Board of Directors, Spectrum Health System, 2010 – present)
  • Member, Board of Trustees, Health Care Foundation; 1990-2010 (Chairman, 1994-2010)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Michigan State Chamber of Commerce, 2010 – present
  • Founder and Chairman, West Michigan Aviation Academy (a charter high school), 2010 – present
  • Chairman, Board of Directors, RDV Corporation
  • Governing Board, Orlando Magic, 1994–present
  • Member, Board of Trustees, Thunderbird School of Global Management, 2003–present
  • Member, Board of Directors, Willow Creek Association, 1997–present
  • Co-Chairman, Grand Action Committee, 1992–present (Chairman, Grand Vision Committee, 1991–1992)
  • Founder and Chairman, Regional Air Alliance of West Michigan, 2010–present

Political activities prior to 2006

In 1990, DeVos won election to the Michigan State Board of Education, and resigned two years into his eight-year term, citing his return to Amway as CEO as the reason. In 1996, DeVos was appointed by Governor John Engler to the Grand Valley State University Board of Control.

School vouchers

DeVos and his wife became co-chairs of the Education Freedom Fund in 1993. The Fund provides private scholarships to low-income families in Michigan with wishes to attend schools of their choice. When the Children's Scholarship Fund provided $7.5 million to the Education Freedom Fund, the DeVos matched the grant, and their foundation covers all of the administrative costs of the organization. Pro school choice groups such as the Children's Scholarship Fund use charitable scholarship programs as part of their campaign to build support for publicly funded vouchers. In 2000, DeVos was the co-chairman of the "Kids First! Yes!" campaign committee, which sponsored a ballot-initiative that would have amended the Michigan constitution to allow vouchers and tuition tax credits for private K-12 education. The initiative lost, with 69% of voters opposing the measure.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine