Arthur F. Ryan
Born: Brooklyn, New York
New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2018: Enterprise

As commencement speaker for the Class of 2008 at Rutgers Business School in Newark, Arthur F. Ryan acknowledged that when he graduated college some 45 years earlier, he hadn’t “the faintest idea” what to do with his degree in mathematics.

Looking back, it seems he did a pretty good job figuring that out.

Raised on Long Island, Ryan earned his math degree at Providence College in Rhode Island, where he is said to have sold magazines to earn extra money. It was his first sales experience. After graduation, he served a two-year stint in the U.S. Army, then went to work as a programmer/analyst for a technology company called Control Data Corporation.

In 1972, Ryan parlayed his mathematics and programming expertise into a job at Chase Manhattan Bank; within four years, he was made head of the bank’s securities-processing business. He continued to rise through the ranks at Chase, and by 1984 was appointed executive vice president, with a chairman position on the board. Ryan ultimately served as president and chief operating officer of Chase from 1990 to 1994.

Ryan was 52 when he left Chase to become chairman and CEO of Prudential Insurance.

When Prudential’s assets slipped, Ryan implemented a massive cost-cutting program, reducing staff and improving the company’s technology to keep it competitive. Eventually, he brought the company public in 2001, creating a new entity, Prudential Financial. He continued at the helm of Prudential as CEO until his retirement in 2008.

In addition to his business success, Ryan is notable for his personal and corporate philanthropy. Under his leadership, Prudential became a major supporter of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, among other institutions. Ryan and his wife are also major supporters of his alma mater, Providence College, which renamed its business school the Arthur and Patricia Ryan Center for Business Studies.

Intro/Acceptance Video