Hometown: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan
Resume: Assistant treasurer, Old National Bancorp, 2000-2004; vice president, institutional lending, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, 2004-2005; treasurer, Old National Bancorp, 2005-2009; director of corporate strategy and development, Old National Bancorp, 2009-2016; chief financial officer, Old National Bancorp, 2016-2019; chief executive officer, Old National Bancorp, effective May 2, 2019 family Wife Tricia Ryan and daughters Emma (18) and Hannah (16)
As a college student at Grand Valley State University, Jim Ryan was the guy who wore ties to class. Dressing for the job he wanted served him well. He landed an internship during school and later a job in banking right out of college with Old Kent Bank in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and never looked back. On May 2, Ryan will become the CEO of Old National Bancorp after almost 20 years with the company.
Have you always worked in banking?
I have. I started with a bank in Michigan called Old Kent Financial, so I like the “old” theme. Actually, there is a lot of memorabilia out there about Old National because it is an old bank. It’s 185 years old. I was Ebaying one day, so check this out.
This is the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel now (previously the Pantlind Hotel in Grand Rapids). Look at the name of the bank. Old Kent Bank in its history actually was Old National Bank once upon a time. Isn’t that wild? It’s destiny.
How much will your day-to-day job change when you transition to CEO?
Bob [Jones] has been a great mentor for 14 years, so I’ve been by his side for most of that 14 years. The good news is I’ve seen a lot of that job already. Now obviously I haven’t always felt the complete gravity of a $20-billion bank. I probably will spend more time with clients out visiting each one of our markets for dual purpose — both to meet with clients but also to meet with our associates. I’ll still meet with a lot of investors and still meet with a lot of partners for us to continue to expand, think about strategy, and think about ways to continue to grow the organization.
What influences your decision when making an acquisition or merger?
I think we’re starting first to think about people. What are the people like? Are these people we think make a good fit within our company? And then we look at the bank strategy; we look at the marketplace. Certainly we are a Midwest-oriented institution. We’re thinking about what are those markets in the upper Midwest that feel a lot like Evansville.
What are you most looking forward to once you take over as CEO?
I think there’s an opportunity to continue to build upon the experience for our clients and our associates, and we’re at the right phase of our company to do that. I think I’m really looking forward to making some positive changes with respect to how our organization needs to change in order to serve today’s clients.
I’m one of those people who never is really satisfied with the status quo. I know we can be better. We need to make sure we consistently exceed expectations, not occasionally exceed expectations, but consistently exceed expectations for both clients and associates. We are well positioned to be here another 185 years. We really see it in those terms. We know and understand the impact we make in this community, and we want to make sure we’re around for a long, long time.