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James T. Ryan is Grainger’s Chairman of the Board, a role he has held since April 2009. Mr. Ryan served as Chief Executive Officer from June 2008 through September 2016. He has been President of Grainger since 2006, served as Chief Operating Officer from 2007 to 2008 and was 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. 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. Earlier in his Grainger career he served as President, and as Vice President, Information Services, where Mr. Ryan oversaw the implementation of one of the largest SAP systems worldwide and achieved corporate Y2K compliance. He also served as President, Grainger Parts and has held various positions in product management.

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 is the Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of DePaul University and is a Co-Chair of the Business Advisory Council 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 National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors.

W.W. Grainger, Inc., with 2015 sales of $10 billion, is North America's leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products (MRO), with operations also in Europe, Asia and Latin America. For more information about the company, visit

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