Jack Massey

Jack Massey with Colonel Harland Sanders
and John Brown in 1964
PHOTO: Barbara Massey Rogers


You may not have ever heard of Jack Massey, but you’ve heard of Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

In 1964 Sanders sold his restaurant chain to Nashville businessman and pharmacist Jack Massey and a young lawyer from Kentucky named John Y. Brown Jr. Massey and Brown expanded the company, spent huge amounts of money on advertising and shifted the business into stand-alone locations (prior to that time Kentucky Fried Chicken had mainly been a menu item at sit-down restaurants). The chain grew and grew until it was the largest restaurant company in the world – larger, at that time, than McDonald’s.

PHOTO: Barbara Massey Rogers

Massey later sold his share of Kentucky Fried Chicken and went on to help start two other large companies – Hospital Corporation of American, which owns hospitals, and Winner’s Corp., which at that time owned Mrs. Winner’s restaurants.

Today, Hospital Corporation of America is known as HCA. It is one of the biggest and most important companies in Tennessee.

Jack Massey, a pharmacist from Nashville, thus became the first person in American history to ever take three unrelated companies to the New York Stock Exchange.