Mr. J. Ira Harris is the Chairman of J. I. Harris & Associates, a consulting firm, and Vice Chairman of The Pritzker Organization, LLC, a merchant banking investment management services firm, since January, 1998.
He was the Senior Managing Director of the investment banking firm of Lazard Freres & Co. LLC until December, 1997.
At the age of 16, he began his higher education at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In 1959, at the age of 20, he graduated and began his financial career selling mutual funds door to door in New York City. In 1961, he joined Granbery Marache and Company, the predecessor of Blair and Company, as a securities salesman.
In 1964, Blair sent him to Chicago to revive their faltering Midwest operation. The 26-year-old Harris soon turned the Chicago and Midwest office into a leading moneymaker. In 1969, Salomon Brothers offered him a partnership, making him the first outsider brought in from another firm in that capacity.
In 1988, he joined Lazard Freres & Company as a senior partner and member of its management committee. In 1998, at the age of 60, he established J. I. Harris & Associates, a financial consulting firm.
He is a director of Manpower Inc. for more than five years. He is currently the Vice President and Director at Polk Brothers Foundation.