Business 100 - 2008

Patrick Ryan/Aon

As Aon’s chairman and CEO, Patrick Ryan has watched his company become the world’s largest reinsurance broker. Aon has 55,000 employees in more than 125 countries.

The company’s name: Aon, is Gaelic for one and it isn’t its only Irish link. Patrick has roots in Tipperary, and Aon has established reinsurance and risk management operations in Dublin’s International Financial Services Center, and has made substantial acquisitions of Irish-based companies operating in its sector.

Named one of America’s top ten corporate directors in 1998, Patrick counts among his many honors being named Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s 2001 Man of the Year, and receiving the Order of Lincoln Medallion, Chicago’s highest award. In 2003, he was honored by the Ireland-U.S. Council at a dinner in New York.

Patrick is chairman of the board of trustees of Northwestern University, his alma mater. He and his wife, Shirley, with whom he founded the Pathways Center for Children and the Pathways Awareness Foundation, have three sons.