Woody Johnson
Johnson at the commissioning of the USS New York (LPD-21).
BornRobert Wood Johnson IV
(1947-04-12) April 12, 1947 (age 74)
New Brunswick, New Jersey, U.S.
ResidenceNew York City
EducationUniversity of Arizona
OccupationNew York Jets owner, philanthropist
Spouse(s)Nancy Sale Johnson Rashad (m. 1977-2001)
Suzanne Ircha Johnson
(m. 2009-present)
ChildrenCasey Johnson (1979-2010)
Jamie Johnson (b. 1982)
Daisy Johnson (b. 1987)
Robert Wood Johnson V (b. 2006)
Jack Wood Johnson (b. 2008)
ParentsRobert Wood Johnson III (1920-1970)
Betty Wold Johnson

Robert Wood "Woody" Johnson IV (born April 12, 1947) is an American businessman and philanthropist. He is a great-grandson of Robert Wood Johnson I (co-founder of Johnson & Johnson), and the owner of the New York Jets of the National Football League.[1][2]

Early life

Johnson was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey. His father was Robert Wood Johnson III, president of Johnson & Johnson for four years, and his mother was Betty Wold Johnson. Johnson grew up with four siblings: Keith Johnson, Billy Johnson, Elizabeth "Libet" Johnson, and Christopher Wold Johnson. He graduated from Millbrook School and the University of Arizona.[3]


Johnson became involved in charitable organizations full time in the 1980s. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His family has been affected by both lupus and juvenile diabetes, which motivated Mr. Johnson to take a role in raising funds to prevent, treat, and cure autoimmune diseases. He has led efforts on Capitol Hill and at the National Institutes of Health to increase research funding for lupus, diabetes, and other autoimmune diseases.[4] and personally contributed to causes related to diabetes, after his daughter Casey was diagnosed with the disease. He also started a research foundation, the Alliance for Lupus Research, after his daughter Jaime was found to have lupus.

On January 18, 2000, Johnson purchased the NY Jets for $635 million, the third-highest price for a professional sports team and the most for one in New York. Johnson, who also owns courtside seats to the New York Knicks, outbid the $612 million offered by Charles F. Dolan, the chairman of Cablevision, which owns Madison Square Garden, the Knicks and the Rangers. The price seemed high for a team with a recent history of game losses, and which finished with a 1-15 record in 1996. The team sold for more than $100 million above what some sports finance analysts had expected. Based on the Jets' recent[when?] financial performance and the team's low-revenue lease at Giants Stadium, the analysts said the team was really worth about $250 million.[5]

After buying the Jets, Johnson announced plans to move them to the proposed West Side Stadium in Manhattan. However, after the project's defeat in 2005, Johnson announced the Jets would move to a new Meadowlands Stadium (opening day 10 April 2010) co-owned with the Giants. Johnson served on the NFL Commissioner search committee in which a list of 185 candidates to succeed Paul Tagliabue was narrowed down to the final choice of Roger Goodell.

Johnson is the Chairman and Chief Executive of the Johnson Company, Inc., a private investment firm founded in 1978. In August 2006, Johnson was asked to testify before a Senate panel about his participation in a sham tax shelter. A Senate report said that Johnson, along with a few others, were able to buy, for relatively small fees, roughly $2 billion in capital losses that they used to erase taxable gains they garnered from stock sales. The U.S. Treasury lost an estimated $300 million in revenue as a result. In a statement, Johnson said he had been advised by his lawyers in 2000 that the transaction "was consistent with the Tax Code." But after the Internal Revenue Service challenged that view in 2003, Johnson this year "settled with the IRS and agreed to pay 100 percent of the tax due plus interest." [6]

He was the committee president for Pre-Commissioning Unit for the USS New York (LPD-21).[7]

Personal life

In 1977, Johnson married former fashion model Nancy Sale Johnson. They had three children: Casey, Jaime, and Daisy, before divorcing in 2001. In early 2010, Casey died of diabetic ketoacidosis.[8]

In 2009, Johnson married Suzanne Ircha Johnson, a former actress and Equities Managing Director at Sandler O'Neill & Partners.[9][10] They have two children: Robert Wood Johnson V and Jack Wood Johnson.

Johnson has homes in Bedminster Township, New Jersey and New York.[11]


Johnson has personally given more than $1 million to Republican candidates and committees to date (2010). In May 2008, he orchestrated a fundraiser in New York City that brought in $7 million in a single evening for John McCain, by far the largest amount collected up to that point by a campaign that had been struggling to raise money. Johnson also provided significant funding to the Republican National Convention of 2008 in Minneapolis-St. Paul convention host committee; from a $10 million shortfall, Johnson contributed personally and solicited friends to assist in covering the convention deficit.[12] In 2011, Woody Johnson announced that he would endorse former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election.[13]


  1. [1]
  2. Richard Sandomir (January 12, 2000). "Philanthropist and Fan". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C05E0DC173AF931A25752C0A9669C8B63. Retrieved 2008-01-23. "Robert Wood Johnson IV, whose great-grandfather founded Johnson & Johnson, won the right yesterday to buy the Jets for $635 million, the third-highest price for a professional sports team and the most for one in New York."
  3. Wilson, Duff (November 11, 2004). "Behind the Jets, a Private Man Pushes His Dream". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/11/sports/football/11woody.ready.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all&position=. Retrieved 2010-02-10. "He grew up in affluent areas in New Jersey, attended the elite Millbrook School in the Hudson Valley and worked menial summer jobs at Johnson & Johnson with the expectation of ascending to the top of the family business."
  4. http://www.lupusresearch.org/about/directors.html
  5. Sandomir, Richard (2000-01-12). "The Jets Fill One Opening: New Owner at $635 Million". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2000/01/12/sports/the-jets-fill-one-opening-new-owner-at-635-million.html.
  6. Birnbaum, Jeffrey H. (2006-08-01). "Tax Shelters Saved Billionaires a Bundle". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/31/AR2006073101097.html.
  7. http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=75484
  8. "Coroner: Casey Johnson died of natural causes - CNN.com". CNN. 2010-02-04. http://www.cnn.com/2010/SHOWBIZ/02/04/casey.johnson.cause.death/index.html?hpt=T2.
  9. "Wall Street firms vow to rebuild". USA Today. 2002-01-25. http://www.usatoday.com/news/sept11/2002/01/26/back-to-work.htm.
  10. http://www.bittenandbound.com/2008/10/15/woody-johnson-dials-erika-mariani-while-suzanne-ircha-gives-birth/.
  11. Sandomir, Richard (January 12, 2000). "The Jets Fill One Opening: New Owner at $635 Million". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0CE6DB173AF931A25752C0A9669C8B63. Retrieved 2010-02-10. "Johnson, who is 52 years old, has homes in Manhattan and Bedminster, N.J."
  12. Luo, Michael (2008-09-05). "Convention Limelight Shines on a Big Donor". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/05/us/politics/05donate.html?ex=1378353600&en=dbdf949f33dd115e&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink.
  13. Haberman, Maggie (2011-11-11). "Woody Johnson says Chris Christie's Mitt Romney endorsement a game-changer". Politico. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1011/65660.html.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Leon Hess
Owners of the New York Jets Succeeded by

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