The Early Life and Career Journey of Dick DeVos
Dick DeVos was born and brought up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the son of Richard Marvin DeVos and Helen June. Mr. DeVos attended the Forest Hills public school before joining Northwood University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Afterwards, he went to the Harvard School of Business to undertake Executive Study Programs. He is privileged to receive several honorary doctorates from Central Michigan University, Grove City College, and Northwood University.
Dick DeVos’ wife, Betsy DeVos, is the 11th and current Secretary of Education and Michigan Republican Party Chairman. Here, he held various positions in marketing, sales, research and development, and finance departments. In 1984, he was appointed as the company’s vice president, responsible for Amway’s operations in 18 countries. Under his helm, Amway opened new markets and exceeded its domestic sales for the first time in history. Before Dick DeVos joined Amway, its foreign sales accounted for about 5% of overall sales. International sales had grown by 50% of annual sales by the time Dick DeVos left Amway.
Upon the acquisition of the Orlando Magic basketball franchise in 1991, Dick DeVos was appointed by his father, Richard DeVos, to serve as the team’s President and CEO. On October 21, 2005, DeVos became a shareholder after his father decided to split ownership between his children. In 1993, Dick DeVos left Orlando Magic and rejoined Amway as the President. During his tenure, Amway extended its operations in over 50 countries and six continents. In 2000, Dick DeVos initiated the restructuring of Amway into Alticor, a new parent company of Amway. Dick and his brother, Doug DeVos, are credited for their role in taking Amway onto the international scene and setting industry standards as the company continues to scale globally. By the time of retiring as the President of Alticor in 2000, Dick DeVos had grown the company’s annual sales to $4.5 billion. Shortly after stepping down as the president of Alticor, Mr. DeVos went back to The Windquest Group as the President.
Mr. DeVos serves as the Chairman of Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation, a humanitarian organization that has donated millions of dollars to educational, civic, religious, and artistic organizations since 1990. The grantees of Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation include the West Michigan Aviation Academy, Grand Rapids Christian Schools, Calvin College, and Mars Hill Bible Church. DeVos pioneered the establishment of the first aviation public charter school, West Michigan Aviation Academy.
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