James (Jim) M. Shannon joined the UL Board of Directors in 2009 where he currently serves as the board’s chairman. Jim previously served as the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a leading advocate for fire prevention, where he gained extensive knowledge of fire safety and prevention.
Jim successfully launched a national effort requiring all cigarettes in the U.S. be fire safe. He also created a national campaign advocating for the use of fire sprinklers in all new one- and two-family homes. While at the NFPA, Jim increased freedom of information by introducing the free access policy, which made the NFPA the first major standards developer to offer free digital access to all its codes and standards to the public.
Before joining the NFPA, Jim was elected Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a position he held from 1987 to 1991, serving as an advocate for consumer and civil rights. He has argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and served as chair of the Antitrust Committee of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). In 1978, Jim was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on behalf of the Fifth Congressional District of Massachusetts and was re-elected in 1980 and 1982.
Jim served a three-year term from 2017 through 2019 as president of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). He received his Bachelor of Arts from Johns Hopkins University and his Juris Doctor degree from George Washington University Law School.