William "Billy" Buchanan Dunavant Jr.

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Billy Buchanan Dunavant Jr. is the former chief executive of Dunavant Enterprises, a cotton trader. He died on September 11, 2021 at the age of 81. [1]


William ‘Billy’ Buchanan Dunavant Jr.’s successful career in the cotton business was tied intimately to the growth and development of the New York Board of Trade and its predecessor, the New York Cotton Exchange.

Born into a family with deep roots in the cotton business, he took control of Dunavant Enterprises in 1961 at the age of 29 and transformed it into a global powerhouse in the buying and selling of cotton. Under his leadership, the Memphis-based company was one of the first to go into forward contracting, whereby a farmer can lock in a price before he plants his cotton. W. B. Dunavant and Company also participated in the first U.S. sale of cotton to Mainland China in November 1972.

Dunavant served on the board of the NYBOT and the New York Cotton Exchange (NYCE) for 35 years. He stepped down as chief executive of Dunavant Enterprises in 2005. Dunavant was also mentor to one of the industry’s most successful traders, Paul Tudor Jones.

In 2007, Dunavant was inducted into the Futures Industry Association's Futures Hall of Fame, which was established in 2005 to commemorate outstanding contributions to the global futures and options community.[2]