James O. Cole is a former Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary of AutoNation Inc., a $20B Fortune 100 company, and former Associate General Counsel and Vice President of The Clorox Company. As Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary at AutoNation from 1997 to 2001, Cole managed the legal staff (>50 employees), served as a member of the Executive Committee, assumed the role of Chief Ethics Officer and led the company’s Government Relations Group. Under Cole’s leadership the company successfully executed over 200 acquisitions.
Cole recently completed ten (10) years as Of Counsel with Ruden McClosky law firm in November, 2011 in the Corporate, Real Estate, Land Use and Government Relation Practice Groups. Concurrently, Cole managed business operations for his successful niche food services company in addition to serving as principal partner in a company with projects in the Caribbean and CEO and Chairman of Cole Holdings, Inc., a real estate development and holding company.
Cole was elected National President-Elect of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (the oldest African American Organized Fraternity) in June 2012 and has lead and contributed to Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.
Cole graduated from Harvard Law School in 1971 and is a member of the California, Illinois and Florida Bars. He has served as President of the National Bar Association, President of the California Association of Black Lawyers and President of the Charles Houston Bar Association. Underscoring a passion for continuous learning, Archon Cole completed the Director Development Program at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
Throughout his career Cole has been recognized as a trailblazer and for contributions across a range of leadership roles. Most recently he served as a board member of the Joe DiMaggio and Memorial Hospital Foundation and board member of African American Experience Fund, an affiliate of the National Parks Foundation. He is currently a distinguished alumnus and member of the Board of Trustees of Talladega College, a member of Howard Law School’s Advisory Committee and a board member of Greater Miami Gardens Chamber of Commerce. Cole is also a member of the Executive Leadership Council, NAACP, LDF, Urban League, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and National Vice President of National Association of Guardsmen, Inc.
Cole has received numerous awards including the National Bar Association’s highest honor, the C. Francis Stradford Award. He is a member of the NBA’s Hall of Fame and was listed as one of South Florida’s top 100 individuals in law and health professions.
Jim and Ada Cole celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on December 16, 2011 and are proud parents of Barry, a graduate of Dartmouth College and a successful entrepreneur in film and music and 2013 Grammy Awards Nominee based in New York City.