Born in Iran, F. Francis Najafi came to America at the age of 17. Speaking no English, he enrolled in Arizona State University where he learned English and completed a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Mr. Najafi continued his academic pursuits earning two master’s degrees, one from Thunderbird – The School of Global Management, the other from University of Southern California (USC). During his USC candidacy for a PhD in International Political Economy, Francis combined his global perspective with an entrepreneurial passion that drives his social, philanthropic, and business pursuits.
Mr. Najafi is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pivotal Group, a forty-year-old firm that actively invests in private equity and real estate. During the 1990’s Francis built Pivotal Group into one of the largest institutional real estate funds in the Southwest United States. Seeing an opportunity for growth, in the early 2000’s Mr. Najafi expanded Pivotal Group’s focus to include technology private equity. He has served on the Boards of many private companies and is a vocal advocate for strong corporate core values and governance.
In 2005, Mr. Najafi established the Pivotal Foundation, as a charitable vehicle to give back to society and provide patronage for international awareness initiatives, global and local education, and numerous health, cultural, and civic organizations.
Serving as a Board member of the EastWest Institute, and as regular participant in the Aspen Institute, Mr. Najafi lends his voice as an advocate for increased global dialogue, conflict resolution, social good and a better world. In addition, Francis is also active in the World Presidents’ Organization and Chief Executives Organization, where he actively participates in numerous forums, dialogue, and educational experiences designed to broaden the world perspective of today’s business leaders.
Locally, Mr. Najafi shares his experience, leadership and collaborative skills by serving on the Board of Sandra Day O’Connor Institute, as a Cabinet Member of the President’s Club at Arizona State University, as a Board Member Emeritus and Capital Campaign Chair of Arizona Science Center, as a Board Member of Greater Phoenix Economic Council, and as a member of ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business Dean’s Council.