Jeremy M. Jacobs
Chairman, Delaware North, and Owner/Governor, Boston Bruins
Jeremy M. Jacobs is Chairman of Delaware North, Chairman and Governor of the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League (NHL), Chairman of the NHL’s Board of Governors, and Chairman of the State University at Buffalo’s presidential advisory council.
Delaware North is a hospitality and food service company that is one of the most admired family-owned and operated companies in the world. Mr. Jacobs became Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company at age twenty-eight, taking over after his father Louis Jacobs, who founded Delaware North with his brothers, passed away suddenly. Mr. Jacobs has led the company for almost fifty years and has helped it grow to annual revenues of $3 billion and more than 60,000 employees. They serve half a billion customers annually on four continents.
Delaware North’s operating subsidiaries include industry leaders in food and retail operations at airports and sports venues, sports facility ownership and management, operations of parks and major tourist attractions, hotel ownership and management, and gaming operations. The company recently acquired Patina Restaurant Group, a leader in the premium segment of the restaurant and catering industry that operates restaurants and manages catering and food service at high-profile venues such as Rockefeller Center in New York, the Emmy Awards Governors Ball in Los Angeles, and Walt Disney World in Orlando.
In 2015 Delaware North celebrated its 100th anniversary, and Mr. Jacobs named his sons Jerry Jr., Lou, and Charlie as the company’s CEOs. The company also moved into a new global headquarters in downtown Buffalo and has been credited with helping to revitalize a once-blighted section of the city.
Buffalo is Mr. Jacobs’ lifelong home. His family owned the Calder Cup champions Buffalo Bisons of the American Hockey League, and Mr. Jacobs was able to use his knowledge of team ownership, as well as his expertise in sports concessions, to help Seymour H. Knox III and Northrup Knox establish the Buffalo Sabres NHL franchise in Buffalo.
In 1975 Mr. Jacobs acquired the storied Boston Bruins and their historic, but outdated, venue the Boston Garden. He commissioned a new, multi-purpose arena that opened in 1995 and is currently home of the Boston Bruins and the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association, and hosts 200 events annually for 3.5 million guests.
Mr. Jacobs’ forty-year ownership of the Bruins includes many noteworthy highlights. The team has earned four conference championships, two President’s trophies, fifteen division championships, and thirty five Stanley Cup playoff runs resulting in six appearances in the finals and winning the Stanley Cup in 2011. They are the only NHL team to host two New Years Day Winter Classic games, first in 2010 and again in 2015, which is a testament to the team’s popularity. In 2012 Sports Business Journal named the Bruins the “Sports Team of the Year.”
In 2003 the Jacobs family founded the Boston Bruins Foundation, a non-profit organization that assists charitable organizations that demonstrate a commitment to enhancing the quality of life for children throughout New England. The Foundation provides grants to organizations that meet its mission, concentrating on academics, athletics, community outreach, and health. To-date the Foundation has made awards totaling $22 million, including $3 million in each of the last three years. Following the Boston Marathon bombing the Foundation donated $200,000 to the One Fund to aid victims. The Foundation also recently pledged $200,000 in direct support, as well as numerous organization and team-led fundraising initiatives, to the Denna Laing Fund. Ms. Laing, of the Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League, sustained a significant spinal injury during the Outdoor Women's Classic. For their many charitable contributions the Jacobs family was honored with the St. Jude Award for Inspiration in Sports at the 2013 Global Sports Summit.
Mr. Jacobs has held numerous leadership roles in the NHL, including serving on the league’s Audit, Finance and Executive Committees since 1979. He has helped the NHL not only grow its professionalism in terms of the business of hockey but has also helped to ensure the league’s long-term financial growth and strategic focus. In 2007 his peers unanimously elected him to be chairman of the NHL Board of Governors, a role that he holds today. Under his leadership the league successfully negotiated a collective bargaining agreement with the NHL Players’ Association, which has ultimately contributed to small market teams’ ability to be competitive in the league. Under his guidance the NHL has also undergone enhancements to the fan experience and rule changes to improve the game and improve player safety.
For his contributions to hockey and the wider world of sports, Mr. Jacobs was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2006, awarded the Hockey Legacy Award from the Sports Museum in Boston in 2012, inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2013, awarded the prestigious Lester Patrick Trophy From USA Hockey in 2015, named to the Sports Business Journal Champions: Pioneers in Sports Innovation & Business class of 2016, and was inducted into the 2016 class of the Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame.
Mr. Jacobs is a passionate philanthropist of public higher education. He has served in numerous volunteer positions with the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB) and his family has made $50 million in donations to the institution, which is the largest public university in the New York State. In 1998 he was appointed Chairman of the UB Council, the advisory board to the university’s president, and he continues to hold that position.
Most recently the Jacobs family donated $30 million to advance UB’s medical school, which will soon complete construction on a new, state-of-the-art building in downtown Buffalo. In recognition of their historic gift the university renamed the school the Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. In the past his family has donated $10 million to open the Jacobs Institute, in honor of his late brother Dr. Lawrence Jacobs, which helps to translate research discoveries to practical applications in medicine. The Jacobs have also funded scholarships for undergraduate students and female student-athletes, supported academic chairs and the UB School of Management’s Masters of Business Administration program in China, and donated the architectural landmark that was the original headquarters of Delaware North to the university.
Mr. Jacobs has provided distinguished service and leadership to the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, which has designated him a member of its Million Dollar Roundtable of donors. Under his leadership Delaware North has received countless awards for social responsibility, community service, and environmental stewardship. The company recently donated $1 million to the Say Yes Buffalo initiative and $1 million to the Explore & More Museum, both of which are committed to advancing elementary and secondary education in the City of Buffalo.
Mr. Jacobs is an alumnus of UB’s School of Management and the Harvard School of Business Advanced Management Program. He holds honorary doctorates from the University at Buffalo, Canisius College, Niagara University, and Johnson & Wales University.
He and his wife Margaret reside in East Aurora, New York. They have six children, eighteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren.