Mr. Kanders owns Safariland, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based manufacturer of law enforcement and military supplies including bulletproof vests, bomb-defusing robots, gun holsters and tear gas.
Currently, Mr. Kanders also occupies the position of Chairman for KSS Outdoor Holdings LLC, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer for Maui Acquisition Corp., Executive Chairman at Clarus Corp., Chairman & Chief Executive Officer at Kanders Acquisition Co., and President & Director at Kanders & Co., Inc. He is also on the board of 5 other companies.
Mr. Kanders, 61, joined the Whitney board in 2006, had been on the executive committee for five years, and has donated more than $10 million to the museum. He and his wife, Allison, are avid art collectors, owning work by contemporary artists like Jeff Koons, Christopher Wool, Rudolf Stingel and Ed Ruscha. Ms. Kanders was co-chairwoman of the museum’s painting and sculpture committee; she resigned simultaneously with her husband.
A graduate of Choate Rosemary Hall, the elite Connecticut boarding school, and Brown University, Mr. Kanders began working in finance doing mergers and acquisitions at Morgan Stanley. He later struck out on his own, buying up a series of eyewear stores, lens and frame manufacturers that he eventually sold in 1996.
Mr. Kanders plowed some of his profits into a company called American Body Armor. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, another business he had purchased, which made armor for vehicles, took off, and he continued investing in law enforcement and military products.