After more than 20 years at the helm of an influential Fort Worth group, John V. Roach is handing over the reins to a couple of new leaders.
On Feb. 7, Roach passed the gavel for the Fort Worth Executive Roundtable to Mike Berry, president of Hillwood, and Dee J. Kelly Jr., a partner at the Kelly Hart & Hallman law firm.
The Executive Roundtable organization is open only to CEOs in the area. The group began around the year 2000, shortly after Roach retired as head of Tandy Corp. Roach and several other business leaders who were also retiring around that time felt as if they needed a way to pass on their knowledge to the next generation. They founded the Executive Roundtable, and Roach has been the only chairman of the group.
“Back in the late ‘90s, there was a lot of changes in leadership around town,” Roach told the Fort Worth Report. “Pier 1 was changing, TCU was changing. The goal was to keep the people retiring involved with others in the community and bringing the new leadership up to day with the public and private partnerships that have served our city well. That was a big goal of the organization.
“We wanted to be sure that everybody knew everybody basically. It’s perpetuated itself for 20 years or so.”
The original name of the group was Changing of the Guard, but was later changed to Fort Worth Executive Roundtable. The group, which numbers about 70, has many of Fort Worth business executives, government and educational leaders among its ranks, but many have not heard of it. That too is by design, said Roach.
“We’ve been off-the-record and nobody has really violated the off-the-record nature of the meeting, and I think that’s a good thing,” he said.
In his farewell address to the group, Roach summarized high points from his long and varied career. He discussed local business leaders like Charles Tandy, who founded Tandy Corp., as well as his interactions with a young businessman named Bill Gates,who went on to found Microsoft, and CEO Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway.
“I don’t think anyone really in our history has had more impact on the growth and evolution of business and innovation in our city,” Berry said of Roach.
In taking the gavel, Berry also announced that the Executive Roundtable group would be making a contribution to the John B. Roach Honors College at TCU.
David Moreno is a spring fellow reporter and video producer for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.
Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.