TOM DAVISON, SR.
PRESIDENT & SENIOR MANAGING DIRECTOR
I was born at West Point New York on January 19, 1937 where my Dad Gar Davidson was a football player and then Head Football Coach, and during World War Two was George Patton’s Engineer for the invasions of North Africa and then Sicily where Patton pinned his own stars on my Dad to make him the youngest General in the US Army. He liberated Dachau prison camp and presided over the very first War Crimes trial where individuals were hanged for murdering downed American airmen. While Dad was at war for four years, our family (including my two brothers) lived in Omaha, Nebraska, Mom’s home. Her brother was Alfred M. Gruenther, a West Point graduate and later Eisenhower’s right hand many in WWTwo and later SHAPE Commander of NATO for several years after Eisenhower. We also returned to Omaha for two years in the 50s when Dad was sent to Korea by MacArthur to build the Davidson Line in the Pusan Perimeter to prevent the United Nations forces from being pushed into the sea.
Following those wars, we moved to Washington, D.C. where I went to high school when Dad was in the Pentagon, and attended Western High School, graduating in 1954. Then I attended the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania for one postgraduate year, playing both football, basketball and tennis. Then attended Williams College, in Williamstown, Massachusetts, graduating in 1959. I played varsity basketball for two years and captained the tennis team, winning the Scribner Trophy for leadership and character. After being injured in freshman football, I broadcasted the football games thereafter. Graduated from Williams with Honors.
Tennis has played a major role in my life, teaching tennis to provide a portion of the necessary funds for education purposes and to help others become proficient in this lifetime sport. I continued my tennis career following graduation from college and law school and won a number of club and league championships over the years in both singles and doubles at virtually every club of which I was a member..
After Williams, I went to Duke Law School, graduating in 1962 With Distinction. While at Duke I also captained the intramural “touch” football team that competed for the University championship.
I then joined the New York law firm Cravath, Swaine and Moore, one of the world’s leading law firms, in 1962, where I mainly practiced Corporate and Securities law. For the most part engaged in capital raising activities of major investment banks and other organizations, including public offerings and mergers and acquisitions. After eight years with Cravath, I joined the New York law firm of Brown and Wood, from 1970 to 1974, as a partner, with similar practice areas, but focused on the activities of Merrill Lynch, the firm’s principal client, handling many public offerings and merger and acquisition transactions, among many other activities.
In 1974, became the Vice President and General Counsel of Mesa Petroleum, headquartered in Amarillo, Texas, headed by T. Boone Pickens. Mesa had oil and gas operations in the mainland U.S., the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and Canada, and was one of the leading oil and gas entities of its time..
In 1977, MAPCO Inc, a $3 billion dollar diversified energy company headed by Robert E. Thomas and headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, invited me to become Senior Vice President and General Counsel. MAPCO, was #1 on the NYSE in terms of return on assets and like financial characteristics. We participated in several major corporate acquisitions and corporate financings to continue to grow the business in a very aggressive manner. My principal responsibility was to build the legal group into a very strong and cohesive group with Senior Counsels hired in to head each major corporate group in MAPCO – Pipelines, Exploration and Production, Refining, and Coal Operations.
In 1982 or so, I was invited to become a partner at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld in Washington D.C. Akin Gump, led by Robert S. Strauss, formerly the Mayor of Dallas, was one of the foremost law firms in the nation, and remains so to this day. Strauss asked me to create a Corporate and Securities Group for the firm in D.C., which I did. Then asked me to start a similar operation in New York, which has since become a multi-hundred lawyer and largest operation for the firm. My own practice remained focused on capital raising, strategic alliances, and business creation for a wide variety of Akin Gump clients.
In 1988, I was asked by Peter Kiewit Sons’, then and still now one of the country’s largest construction companies, to join a newly-created side organization, to be headquartered in Connecticut, following Kiewit’s acquisition of Continental Can Company, a major public company and one of the country’s three largest can manufacturing businesses. The original purpose of this special entity was to seek out and execute on additional acquisitions both domestically and internationally, but those goals were foreshortened by various interruptions and superceding events. For two years of this period, I was placed in charge of the European reorganization of Continental Can’s foreign operations, and also was responsible to sell about a dozen of its subsidiary operations. I remained at Continental Can for a number of years, eventually deciding to relocate to Washington, D.C. to rejoin the practice of law.
For the next several years, at the request of several law firms with which I had become familiar, I concentrated ton opening New York-based law offices for firms desirous of establishing a New York presence. These included firms from Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia.
In 1998, at the instance of a number of potential clients interested in capital raise, we created Davidson Capital Group (originally with one of my three daughters Elizabeth Carroll, and thereafter with another daughter and my son, and eventually ten other colleagues). We very luckily raised $100 million for our first client (that investment quickly becoming worth $1.2 billion), $50 million for the immediate next client, and other capital for a number of other clients over the years since, and have remained in that business to the present time.
My personal passion is Leadership, aimed at the youth of America as well as all other constituencies, and am in the process of creating such an organization, hopefully with the backing of a number of ex-clients and other business and private relationships. I have created the website LeadershipForUS and am exploring the launching of that organization at the present time.