John Taft is Vice Chairman of Baird and a member of the firm's Executive Committee. John's focus is on advancing strategic opportunities across Baird's platform, including the continued expansion of Baird's Private Wealth Management business. Prior to joining Baird, he served as CEO of RBC Wealth Management, a full-service brokerage firm with nearly 2,000 financial advisors and over $280 billion in assets, for more than 10 years (2005-2016). He is a past chairman of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), where he advocated for responsible financial reform. More recently, John served in a consulting capacity for Deloitte & Touche. He is a director of RiverFront Investment Group and a senior advisor to LFE Capital.
John's other past roles include president and CEO of Voyageur Asset Management; president and CEO of Dougherty Summit Securities; a member of the board of directors of Segall Bryant & Hamill, The Clifton Group and Columbia Threadneedle Funds; and a managing director at Piper, Jaffray & Hopwood. Investment Advisor magazine named him to its 2013 IA 25 list of the most influential people in the financial industry and he made the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business list by Trust Across America in 2014 and 2015.
John is a frequent public speaker and media contributor, and has authored two books, "Stewardship: Lessons Learned from the Lost Culture of Wall Street" and "A Force for Good: How Enlightened Finance Can Restore Faith in Capitalism." He graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University, and earned a master's degree in public and private management from the Yale School of Organization and Management. As a member of the board of directors and as a volunteer, he has served a wide range of not-for-profit and public service organizations. Currently he is an active member of the Itasca Project, and serves on the boards of The Minneapolis Foundation and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Deeply committed to community involvement, inclusion and diversity and many other important issues, John credits his family, including his great grandfather, 27th U.S. President William Howard Taft, for instilling strong core values that shape his definition of business success and belief in the importance of treating all people with dignity.