James A. Johnson
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
James A. Johnson has served as Chairman of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts since May 1, 1996. As chairman, Johnson leads the Board of Trustees, which is responsible for setting policy and ensuring the Center's financial well being.
Johnson is a longtime arts supporter who has taken active fundraising roles for such cultural institutions as Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Phillips Collection, and the National Building Museum. In 1995 the Helen Hayes Awards honored Johnson and Fannie Mae with the Peat Marwick Award for Distinguished Community Service.
James A. Johnson is Vice Chairman of Perseus, L.L.C., a merchant banking and private equity firm based in Washington, D.C. and New York City. In 2000 and 2001, Mr. Johnson served as Chairman and CEO of Johnson Capital Partners, a private investment company. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Brooking Institution. He was employed by Fannie Mae from January 1990 through December 1999. He served as Vice-Chairman (1990), as Chairman and CEO from (1991-1998) and Chairman of the Executive Committee (1999). At Fannie Mae he dedicated his efforts at the nation's largest financial institution to reducing housing costs, eliminating mortgage discrimination, and expanding opportunities for millions of Americans who dream of owning their own homes.
Before joining Fannie Mae, Johnson was a managing director in corporate finance at Lehman Brothers, and earlier, he was the president of Public Strategies, a Washington-based consulting firm he founded to advise corporations on strategic issues. From 1977 to 1981 he was executive assistant to Vice President Walter F. Mondale, acting as an advisor on domestic and foreign policy and political matters. A Minnesota native, Johnson has taught at Princeton University, has served as an executive with the Dayton Hudson Corporation, and has worked in the U.S. Senate and the White House.
He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of The Brookings Institution and serves on the boards of the following organizations: Cummins Engine Company, Inc.; The Enterprise Foundation; Gannett, Inc.; The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc; K.B. Home; National Association on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome; National Housing Endowment; Target Corporation; Temple-Inland, Inc.; and UnitedHealth Group. He is also a member of The Business Council and the Council on Foreign Relations. In March 1994, Johnson was named "CEO of the Year" by the George Washington University School of Business and Public Management. He also was named a 1998 "Washingtonian of the Year" by Washingtonian Magazine. In May 2001, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences."
Johnson received a BA degree in political science from the University of Minnesota and an MPA degree in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. He has received honorary doctorates from Howard University and Colby College.
Johnson lives in Washington with his wife Maxine Isaacs and their son Alfred.