Bob Ryan: Giving People a Hand Up

Bob Ryan
Courtesy: Harvard Business School

Medtronic’s former chief financial officer Bob Ryan is a leader helping people by giving them a hand up. He not only has a distinguished CFO career but served as Hewlett-Packard’s lead director and on the boards of Citicorp, General Mills, and Stanley Black & Decker.

Bob’s parents were deeply committed to education. When Bob was 5, his Baptist mother came to his kindergarten, and observing chaos, pulled him out and put him in Catholic schools. He went on become first in his family to attend college, earning three degrees, including two Master’s. He recently received Harvard Business School’s Alumni Achievement Award.

Bob says his greatest satisfaction is helping 91-year-old April Estes turn around her failing Minneapolis funeral home, the oldest African-American business in Minneapolis. Bob worked with Hennepin County to rebuild the funeral home in a new $6 million building that April owns, which was the site for George Floyd’s funeral. April is motivated to make a big gift to De La Salle High School in honor of her granddaughter who died at 28 of lung cancer. Credit Bob Ryan’s compassion and financial skills for making that possible.