Seven years ago, Tom James entrusted me with the significant responsibility of becoming only the third CEO in Raymond James’ history and the first new CEO in more than 40 years. When I accepted the role, I did so not only because of the strong reputation and growth potential of the firm, but because I knew Tom to be a thoughtful and generous mentor.

In my experience, no one knows our business better than he does. Tom’s guidance has shaped the firm’s progress and the diversity of its businesses while affirming its fundamental purpose: people and their financial well-being. His management principles and wisdom are universally respected and admired, not only at Raymond James, but throughout the financial services industry.

Just as important, Tom has been a vigilant and tireless teacher for our associates. He has cultivated values such as conservative management and independent decision-making that allowed Raymond James to survive – and even thrive – during times when other firms in our business failed. And he has instilled a client-first commitment throughout the company, creating a truly unique culture that will continue to be the greatest source of our success in the future.

As Tom transitions to a new role as Chairman Emeritus after almost five decades with the firm, he assures me he isn’t done. In addition to retaining a seat on the board, he’ll continue to have an office at our St. Petersburg headquarters and serve as an advisor and mentor to our management team. But even if he decides to spend more time on his personal pursuits – the new James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art, among others – I am confident Tom has set the groundwork for us to continue to realize our tremendous potential for the benefit of our clients, advisors, associates and shareholders.

On behalf of everyone at Raymond James, I extend our deepest gratitude and congratulations to Tom for all he has done over the last 50 years to make our firm what it is today, and I look forward to how he will continue to influence us for years to come.

Thank you, Tom!