Joseph R. “Pitt” Hyde III is a nationally-known entrepreneur and philanthropist whose leadership has transformed his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. With a life that is equal parts business acumen and strategic philanthropy, he continues to be a force for economic, civic and cultural progress.
Entrepreneurship was Mr. Hyde’s birthright. In 1907, his grandfather founded Malone & Hyde Inc., the wholesale food company. Following Mr. Hyde’s graduation from the University of North Carolina in 1965 with a degree in economics, he joined the family business, where he expanded Malone & Hyde’s specialty retailing division into drug stores, sporting goods stores, supermarkets and auto parts stores. Under his leadership, the company grew dramatically, becoming the United States’ third largest wholesale food distributor with annual sales of more than $3 billion. He was the first president of Super D Drugs, and in 1968, he was elected president of Malone & Hyde. In 1972 he was elected chairman and for 10 years he was the youngest CEO on the New York Stock Exchange.
As founder of AutoZone in 1979 as part of Malone & Hyde, Mr. Hyde guided its growth from three stores in two states to a national retail auto parts giant with more than 3,200 stores. He retired from active management as CEO and chairman by 1997 after building AutoZone to become the largest company in the auto parts industry, but remains on the AutoZone board of directors. He also serves as a director of FedEx Corporation.
Mr. Hyde is owner and president of Pittco Holdings Inc., and one major focus of his broad portfolio of investments is as general partner of Schaedle Worthington Hyde Properties, LP, an Atlanta-based real estate company that specializes in multi-family housing and limited service hotel development.
Mr. Hyde is chairman of GTx Inc., a publicly held biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of therapeutics primarily related to the treatment of serious men’s health conditions. Also, he is chairman of the board of Memphis Bioworks Foundation, which is leveraging Memphis’ assets to develop its unique niche in the biotechnology industry.
Through The Hyde Family Foundations, Mr. Hyde leverages his philosophy of strategic giving to inspire major initiatives and innovative thinking. Through the support of the Hyde Foundation, two first-class museums exist in Memphis – the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum which pays tribute to the city’s storied musical heritage and the National Civil Rights Museum which transformed the tragic site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. into a place of redemption and rededication to civil rights. His foundation also funds the Annual Freedom Awards ceremony honoring national and international human rights leaders from Nelson Mandela to Mikel Gorbachev, Harry Belafonte to Sidney Poitier, and Colin Powell to Oprah Winfrey.
Mr. Hyde led efforts to attract the National Basketball Association’s Grizzlies to Memphis, realizing the city’s long-held dream of having a professional sports team. He is general partner of the Memphis ownership group.
He also co-founded Memphis Tomorrow, an organization of 26 CEOs from the city’s largest corporate and institutional citizens who invest in breakthrough projects addressing issues critical to the future development and growth of Memphis.
Mr. Hyde also actively supports key civic, cultural and charitable organizations including the Partners in Public Education, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Blues Foundation, Greater Memphis Arts Council, Memphis Challenge and Ballet Memphis.
He is married to the former Barbara Rosser of Atlanta and has five children.