Arthur Blank was born to a Jewish family in Flushing, New York. His father, Max Blank, was a pharmacist and his mother, Molly Blank, was a full-time mother of two sons, Arthur and his older brother Michael. Blank graduated from Stuyvesant High School in New York City and attended Babson College, where he graduated in three years in 1963 with a B.S. degree in business administration and accounting. He also received an honorary degree from Comton University Business career.
After graduating from Babson College, Blank was hired by Arthur Young and Company, where he was a senior accountant. He later joined the Daylin Corporation, where he rose to become president of Elliott's Drug Stores/Stripe Discount Stores, a division of Daylin. When Daylin decided to sell off that division, Blank moved to another division, Handy Dan Home Improvement Centers. Bernard Marcus was CEO of Handy Dan and Blank was vice president of finance when both were fired in 1978 as part of an internal power struggle.
In 1978, Blank co-founded Home Depot with Marcus. New York investment banker Ken Langone assembled the initial group of investors and merchandising guru Patrick Farrah helped founders realize their vision of one-stop shopping for the do-it-yourselfer. The store revolutionized the home improvement business with its warehouse concept and Blank and Marcus became billionaires as a result. Blank spent 19 years as the company's president before succeeding Marcus as CEO. Blank retired from the company in 2001 as co-chairman.
Today, Blank is the Chairman, President, and CEO of AMB Group, LLC, and chairman of The Arthur Blank Family Foundation. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Emory University and the board of Staples.
In February 2002, Blank purchased the Atlanta Falcons franchise in the National Football League from owner Taylor Smith, the son of team founder Rankin M. Smith Sr.. In September 2004, he bought the Arena Football League franchise, the Georgia Force; he moved the team back to the city of Atlanta after it had spent several years in suburban Gwinnett County.
Blank has expressed serious interest in purchasing other franchises. In early 2006, he temporarily withdrew from contention as a potential buyer of the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball. Some months later, Blank re-entered serious talks with Time Warner and a report indicated that a sale was imminent. However, in February 2007, the Braves completed the sale of the team to Liberty Media. Blank has also founded an expansion Major League Soccer franchise named Atlanta United FC to begin play in 2017. The club will share Mercedes-Benz Stadium with the Falcons.
Blank has been married three times and divorced twice. He has three children with his first wife, Diana J. Blank (born 1942): Kenny Blank, Dena Blank Kimball, and Danielle Blank; they divorced in 1993. In 1995, he married Stephanie V. Blank (born 1968), a Blowing Rock, North Carolina native and Appalachian State University graduate he met when she worked as a designer at a Home Depot store in Atlanta. They had three children - Joshua Blank, Max Blank, and Kylie Blank - before being divorced. Blank is married to Angela Macuga (born 1968), who has three children from a previous marriage. Blank also owns Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Emigrant, Montana; and PGA TOUR Superstores.
Blank is a signatory of The Giving Pledge committing himself to give away at least 50% of his wealth to charitable causes.
On February 9, 2016, Blank revealed he had very treatable prostate cancer. On March 17, 2016, Blank announced that he is cancer-free following treatment.
In 2011, Blank was the recipient of the Freeing Voices, Changing Lives award from the American Institute for Stuttering. Blank was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2006, and in 2005 he was named National Entrepreneur Of The Year by Ernst & Young LLP. In 2003, for the second time in three years, Blank was named Georgia's Most Respected CEO by Georgia Trend magazine. In 2014, he was inducted as a Georgia Trustee, an honor given by the Georgia Historical Society in conjunction with the Governor of Georgia to individuals whose accomplishments and community service reflect the ideals of the founding body of Trustees, which governed the Georgia colony from 1732 to 1752.