Patrick G. Ryan is founder and executive chairman of Aon Corporation, a global leader in risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, human capital consulting and outsourcing. He started as an entrepreneur and founded an insurance agency of five persons in 1965, which grew to become Aon, with more than 500 offices in 120 countries.
Ryan has been chairman of Aon’s Board of Directors since 1990. He served as chief executive of Aon and its predecessor company from 1964 to April 2005.
He is chairman of the Board of Trustees of Northwestern University. He also is a director of the Chicago Bears Football Club, Inc. One of Chicago’s most visible business and civic leaders, Ryan has been named chairman and CEO of the Chicago 2016 Olympic Evaluation Committee.
He was named by Brigham Young University as the 2002 International Executive of the Year for corporate integrity. Ryan has received the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans Award. He also received the 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award from The Review-Worldwide Reinsurance in London. The Chicago Council on Foreign Relations honored him with its 2006 Chicago Leadership Award for his contribution to building Chicago’s international stature through corporate philanthropy, civic leadership and business.
Numerous other tributes include: 2001 Man of the Year for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Greater Chicago Chapter; 1997 Crain’s Chicago Business Executive of the Year Award; College of Insurance’s Insurance Leader of the Year; the Order of Lincoln Medallion, Illinois’ highest award, recognizing a lifetime of accomplishment; the Business Statesman Award, Harvard Business School Club of Chicago; the Distinguished Leadership Award, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce; the Chicago Historical Society’s Marshall Field History Maker Award for Distinction in Corporate Leadership and Innovation; the Distinguished Citizen Award, Chicago Area Council; the Distinguished Citizen Award, Chicago Council of the Boy Scouts of America; the President’s Medal from Loyola Academy; the Insurance Federation of New York’s 1999 Free Enterprise Award; and the Distinguished American Award from the Chicago Chapter of the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the Chicago Business Hall of Fame and a member and past president of the Economic Club of Chicago.
He and his wife, Shirley, were awarded the 1998 Distinguished Philanthropist Award. The Ryans founded and are active in the Pathways Center and the Pathways Awareness Foundation, dedicated to serving the needs and interests of children and young people with physical movement difficulties.