James T. Ryan was named Chairman in April 2009, and President and Chief Executive Officer in June 2008. He has been President of Grainger since 2006 and was named Chief Operating Officer and appointed to the Board of Directors in February 2007.
Prior to these roles, Mr. Ryan served as Group President, responsible for the company’s businesses operating under the Grainger brand in the United States. As Vice President, Information Services, Mr. Ryan oversaw the implementation of one of the largest SAP systems worldwide and achieved corporate Y2K compliance. He has served Grainger in increasingly responsible roles since 1980, including Executive Vice President, Marketing, Sales and Service. In that post, he was responsible for driving growth and providing industry-leading service across all of the Grainger-branded business channels. He also has held various positions in product management and has served as President, Grainger Parts, and President, Grainger.com.
Mr. Ryan graduated from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in business. He also earned a master’s degree, with distinction, in business administration with a concentration in marketing from DePaul University in Chicago.
In 1999, he was awarded the Distinguished MBA Alumni Award by DePaul University, and the Illinois Institute of Technology recognized him as the 2006 Outstanding Leader in Industry.
Mr. Ryan serves on the Board of Trustees of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry and DePaul University, and is a Business Advisory Council member for the Farmer School of Business at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. He is also a member of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Economic Club of Chicago and the Business Roundtable.
W.W. Grainger, Inc., with 2011 sales of $8.1 billion, is North America's leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products, with expanding global operations. For more information about the company, visit