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James Speed

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Information about James Speed

Profile image of James Speed

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Insurance Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fried Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Maui, Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
Out Of Every Adversity, There Is A Seed Of Equal Or Greater Benefit.

Birthplace

Born:
6/13/1953
Birth Location:
Oxford, North Carolina

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Insurance Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Fried Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Maui, Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
Out Of Every Adversity, There Is A Seed Of Equal Or Greater Benefit.

Birthplace

Born:
6/13/1953
Birth Location:
Oxford
See how James Speed is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Corporate executive James H. Speed, Jr. was born on June 13, 1953 in Oxford, North Carolina. Speed’s father was a laborer in the town of Oxford, and his mother was a homemaker. In 1956, Speed’s mother suffered a stroke that left her paralyzed on the left side of her body. Still, she persevered and became a role-model to young James. Speed and his family lived in a mixed-income neighborhood, and he attended the segregated Orange Street Grade School where he excelled in math. Speed also distinguished himself as an athlete and had dreams of becoming a professional basketball player. In 1969, the Oxford Schools were integrated, and Speed attended J.F. Webb High School and was a member of the school’s integrated baseball team. Later that year, Speed participated in marches, protesting a racially charged murder in Oxford. In 1971, Speed graduated from J.F. Webb High School and entered North Carolina Central University.

Speed flourished as a basketball player and accounting student. He joined the National Association of Black Accountants and made the Dean’s List his senior year. Upon graduation, Speed accepted a job at Pittsburgh Plate & Glass as a staff auditor. In 1979, Speed earned his M.B.A. degree from Atlanta University and was named the "Most Outstanding Student" in the business program. After graduation, Speed joined the international accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche as a certified accountant where one of his principal clients was North Carolina Mutual. In 1991, Speed joined Hardee’s Food System as vice president and controller. Four years later, Speed was promoted to senior vice president, and, in 1997, he became a member of the company’s five-person senior management team. A short time later, Speed began work as a consultant for North Carolina Mutual. In 2000, he formed the Speed Financial Group but was recruited in 2003 to join North Carolina Mutual. He became president and CEO in 2004.

Speed lives in Raleigh with his wife and daughter. He serves on the Durham Chamber of Commerce.

Speed was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 25, 2007.

See how James Speed is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Speed's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Speed lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Speed describes his maternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Speed describes his paternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Speed describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Speed remembers his early childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Speed describes his childhood neighborhood of Oxford, North Carolina
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Speed recalls learning about North Carolina Mutual in his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Speed describes First Baptist Church in Oxford, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Speed remembers his involvement with the Boy Scouts of America and First Baptist Church in Oxford, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Speed describes a teacher who inspired him at Orange Street School in Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Speed describes the racial makeup of neighborhoods in Oxford, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Speed recalls his time at Mary Potter High School in Oxford, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Speed describes the integration of J.F. Webb High School in Oxford North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Speed recalls the impact of "Dickie" Marrow's murder
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Speed remembers deciding to attend North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Speed describes his time at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Speed talks about his childhood extracurricular activities
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Speed remembers his activities at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Speed recalls how he became more studious at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Speed describes his first job at PPG industries in Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Speed describes his experiences at Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Speed talks about working for Deloitte & Touche in Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Speed describes the attitude toward racial inclusion at Deloitte & Touche in Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Speed describes his work habits as an M.B.A. student and a young accountant
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Speed talks about meeting his wife in 1972
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Speed explains his focus on corporate and financial success during the 1980s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Speed recalls his hiring as vice president and controller at Hardee's Food Systems
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Speed describes the improvements he implemented as vice president and controller for Hardee's Food Systems
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Speed talks about improving processes at Hardee's Food Systems
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Speed talks about the importance of positive thinking
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James Speed talks about Peace Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Speed talks about diversifying the staff at Hardee's Food Systems in Rocky Mount, North Carolina
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James Speed describes the Lightner and Lewis families in Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James Speed talks about his daughter, Kiera Speed
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James Speed talks about becoming president of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company in Durham, North Carolina
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James Speed explains why he loves North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James Speed details the history of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company and its importance to the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James Speed describes North Carolina Mutual's mission and contributions to the community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James Speed explains why the title, President of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, does not define him
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James Speed compares his hometown of Oxford, North Carolina in 2007 to his time growing up there
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James Speed reflects upon his greatest accomplishment at North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company in Durham, North Carolina
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James Speed reflects upon his legacy