John Ryan Fanboys

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Not a week goes by without someone dropping us a line about retail marketing agency John Ryan or commenting on this post.

  • They seem to have lost their U.S. Software/Technology Director – confirmed it would seem in one of the comments below.
  • Another senior person to leave was Kim (Rohrer) Hale who was Director, Strategy and Account Planning at John Ryan and who resigned back in October 2010.
  • Mike Siskin who was Executive Vice President Business Development at John Ryan International (for 12 months at least) also left to become Director, Business Development at PHH Arval
  • As folks have pointed out in the comments below John Ryan is, in the US at least, seemingly bleeding really good and experienced people.

    However in Europe it seems to be a different matter and they seem to be actively recruiting (looking for half a dozen or more people if we hear correctly). They already grabbed industry veteran Brian Boakes back in October / November of course.

    With the people losses in the US perhaps there is now a greater emphasis on business in Europe?

    22 Responses to “John Ryan Fanboys”

    1. Adrian Says:

      The rumour is true. John Ryan’s U.S. Software/Technology Director has, in fact, resigned. This is the third key position to be abandoned by a senior JR staffer in just five short months. A clear indication of how badly things are going there.

      As a long time John Ryan employee, Hale, the first of the three to bail, was a real loss for the company. Insiders say she not only provided strategic leadership for the U.S. operation, but was also the “go to person” for most of the staff who typically found interfacing with the Managing Director unsatisfying, at best.

      A key member of the Development Team followed Hale’s lead and left the organization in October, reducing the entire U.S. sales force to only ONE person.

      And now with this most recent director-level resignation, things are looking very grim indeed for John Ryan. Word on the street is that panic has set in and everybody there is looking for a way out. Who knows how much longer the company can continue to hold on.

      Interesting that you say “not a week goes by without someone dropping us a line about John Ryan…” It never ceases to amaze me how much animosity this company breeds. Will they never take steps to address their critical upper management issues? One wonders…

    2. Ex-Ryanite Says:

      Say what you will about the place, but it always succeeded in attracting high caliber talent.

      A quick search of LinkedIn shows ex-JR employees popping up with senior positions at well-respected ad agencies and architects (McKinney, Fame, Black, Periscope, Carlson, WolfMoTell, Gensler), banks and retailers (Wells Fargo, NewAlliance Bank, Bremer Bank, Ameriprise, Best Buy, Target, SuperValu), and elsewhere in the DOOH industry (Wireless Ronin, Self-Service Networks, etc.)

    3. Concerned citizen Says:

      This ship is all but sunk. They lost their oldest digital signage client, citizens bank, recently. The business is now held together by the fixture and install (non digital) work. The leadership team in the states and spain has driven out all the talented staff. I don’t believe there is a true vision for the future of this once interesting company. Apparently things are so bad in Minneapolis that the MD has all but destroyed the last bit of culture that existed and the people left do not speak to her. Five younger directors that were brought in four years ago to shape the future of the company are now gone, the creative director, technology director, sales and marketing, head of project management and head of strategy. The senior management has been supplemented by others in an attempt to bring fresh thinking many times but each time they were unsuccessful. Lots of pretty restrictive non competes have / are about to expire so I would expect some interesting things in the next few months. Companies like Stratacache are close to cornering the banking marketing having a much stronger IT friendly offering. Once that happens there will be nothing left to do but close the door on the way out.

    4. Real Ex-Ryanite Says:

      Ex Ryanite, you sound more like a current Ryanite. Perhaps one of those “upper management” folks that are so often mentioned??

      The fact is, the high caliber talent you reference was present in the John Ryan of YESTERYEAR. As you point out yourself, this high level talent has all left for greener pastures either because it was skimmed or has left of its own volition. So what does that leave there today?

      I, Like many other REAL ex-Ryanites, find the current state of affairs, especially in the Minneapolis office, truly tragic.

    5. Kevin Says:

      Who is this “upper management” that is always referred to? Is it John Ryan himself, or others?

    6. Ex-Ryanite Says:

      I can assure you, I am legitimately “ex” — I have been for a number of years now. I am also intimately aware of the very pronounced strengths and cultural challenges that were present during my time at the company, having been part of the management team. And, I’m very glad that I moved on when I did, of my own volition.

      My commentary had nothing to do with the current state of affairs; I don’t stay in contact with anyone who is part of the organization today, so I have no way to know what it is or isn’t going on there.

      I do, however, defy anyone to point to another DOOH company whose alumni have had a more impressive array of subsequent careers.

    7. Tony Says:

      Ex-Ryanite: That may be true. But the point is all the real talent has LEFT.

      Interestingly the two woman “upper management” team so frequently mentioned in these postings has been with the company a very long time. They’ve basically never worked anywhere else – at least not since the earliest days of their careers.

      While John Ryan may see this as “loyalty,” the reality is it has given them – and therefore the company – an extremely narrow and arrogant point-of-view and is the single greatest reason the company is failing to thrive today.

    8. John C. Ryan Says:

      Once again, Adrian J. Cotterill, Editor of this Blog, has found it within his ethical boundaries to publish false, misleading and potentially damaging information about our Company.

      You have additionally created a forum for other uninformed individuals to hide their identity and publish rumors, innuendos, false, malicious, misleading and damaging information.

      In my opinion, Mr. Cotterill, you do yourself and this emerging industry a bad service by operating under such shameful ethics.

      Oh, and to Adrian Says: January 5th, 2011 at 19:12 @841 :

      You know who I am and where i work, who are you and where do you work?

    9. Daniel Akaka Says:

      Aloha John C. Ryan

      You accuse Adrian J. Cotterill, Editor of this Blog of crossing ‘ethical boundaries’ in publishing “false, misleading and potentially damaging information” about your Company but I fail to see what is false or misleading in what has been written here – the three people mentioned above have either worked for you and resigned or not worked for and not resigned. Their LinkedIn profiles all seem to confirm what has been written so I do not think you can have any issues with that information being made public elsewhere.

      Perhaps you should see the forum that DailyDOOH is providing in allowing current and ex-Ryanites to tell you how it is or how it was as a positive and not a negative.

      No one seems to want to mention your protege Nancy but at the highest levels of your organization she seems to be the source of your problems. Does no one in your company ever conduct ‘exit interviews’ when people leave or at the very least do YOU not privately question why all this good talent that you had is leaving?

      Surely it’s time you took control of YOUR company and fixed all of this or perhaps life is to good in Hawaii for you to get off your backside and do anything about it?

    10. Jason Says:

      Appreciate you chiming in here, John, and can understand your frustration if what has been said is nothing but false rumours. I know how I would feel if the same was said about my company.

      Perhaps you could set the record straight so we can be on with it…which of the turnover rumours Adrian published are false or misleading?

    11. Truth Seeker Says:

      I agree with Jason. In forming our own opinions about John Ryan, it would be very helpful to know what information in anything Adrian has said or in any of the subsequent comments is untrue. John, please set the record straight for all of us by providing concrete examples of the “falsehoods.”

      By the way, in response to Kevin’s earlier question regarding who is the “upper management” so often referred to, a quick check on Linked In shows Maggie Pyzdrowski as Managing Director and Nancy Radermecher as President. I presume this is the “two woman upper management team” referred to in the comments above. And as substantiation to Tony’s comment, it appears from her Linked In profile that Radermecher at least has been with the company since 1985.

    12. Adrian at 19:12@ 841 Says:

      Well, since word like “falsehoods” and “misleading information” are being thrown around here, I feel the need to make an adjustment to my first comment above. The “official” title of the person who recently resigned from JR is actually “Director – Solutions Architecture,” not US Software Technology Director. Although it’s just semantics, I wanted to be accurate for Adrian Cotterill’s sake.

    13. Doubter Says:

      Add me to chorus who would like John to substantiate his claims that the comments thus far are false. Without that, I’m prone to believing that he was just trying to bully this blog and its commenters into silence.

      We’re all waiting.

    14. Tony Says:

      What I find most interesting is that Mr. Ryan would even take time to respond. I believe John Ryan, the company, recently lost the Citizens business and has now had three directors resign. Rather than responding to this blog, one would think Mr. Ryan would have more pressing issues, such as recapturing lost business and talent and dealing with the inept senior management team. However, since Mr. Ryan has opened himself up for comments by joining in this blog, Mr. Ryan could you please put all of the misinformation to bed, by stating what information is inaccurate?

    15. Tom P Says:


      I’m sure the reports of your imminent demise in the early comments are greatly exaggerated, but it’s time to get real and own up, man. Somewhat akin to the Ebenezer Scrooge this holiday season, you must realize there is a reason why you and whoever else the commanders are referencing as “upper management” are continually haunted by the “ghosts of JR employees past”.

      Let me ask you this, what is the average tenure of employees you have hired in meaningful positions in the past 10 years? My guess, judging from what I can see on LinkedIn is that there have been at least 40 turnovers in the US and Europe in sales or account management roles for what can’t be more than 7-8 positions. That would be less than 2 years per stint…and there are at least 5 EVP-type positions in my quick LinkedIn count alone.

      A little bit like the golfer who keeps changing his golf clubs, at some point maybe it’s worth considering that it’s not the “equipment” that’s the problem. Or maybe you already know that, but it’s too hard or not worth the effort to make a change. If I were in your shoes, with your means and position in life, I might be content to milk it for as long as I could with the least amount of personal hassle, too.

      Finally, blaming this blog or the editor for the outcry is delusional…all it has done is provide a public forum for what people have been saying to each other for years now. The word is already out, and has been for some time.

    16. A truly saddened "ex" Says:

      Dear John:

      It appears as though you will not be providing any concrete examples of the “falsehoods” and “misleading information” you claimed were being written by both the editor of this blog and the commentators. Therefore, we can only draw one conclusion: there are no falsehoods or misleading information being published here. You know it. And all of us current and ex-Ryanites know it. It appears, as “Doubter” suggests above, that by crying “foul” you were just trying to bully this blog and the commentators into silence. That’s shameful.

      Many of us ex-Ryanites who were there in the glory days of the 80’s and early 90’s LOVE to get together to share stories about the “old Ryan.” We worked hard and played hard. We had FUN. To a large extent the reason for that was that YOU were around. The company took on YOUR persona. We enjoyed working hard for YOU because YOU were a charismatic, fun, fair and truly caring leader. We would have done anything for YOU.

      We understand that times are different, you’ve gotten older and you want to retire and enjoy your golden years. None of us begrudge you that – we all want the same someday. But what we can’t understand is how someone we cared so much about could hand his company over to two people so ill equipped to handle it, and then seemingly do nothing to intervene.

      When us “old timers” talk to the current or recently departed employees, we’re shocked to hear of the toxic environment that exists in the Ryan of today. The esprit de corps we all cherished in the “old Ryan” is clearly gone. People might be putting in the hours, but it’s a real 9-to-5, “gut it out” kind of mentality. Man, that is so sad to hear.

      You’re a smart guy, John. And from what I hear you’re in the Minneapolis office enough to know and feel what’s going on. My guess is it really tears you up to acknowledge the current state of things. Denial is probably easier. But it’s exactly that denial that makes all us “ex”s so angry and frustrated. That’s why you get such rabid comments every time this blog posts a story about you. It’s not because we’re picking on you or falsifying negative information. It’s because we’re trying to WAKE YOU UP. We hate the current state of the company we once loved. And we want YOU to do something about it. After all, it’s YOUR name that’s still on the door.

    17. Ex-Ryanite Says:

      I’ll second what the last commenter said so much more eloquently than I could. John, I can’t tell you how proud I was to say I worked for John Ryan Company when I joined. Now, I don’t generally mention it in my work experience in public forums because I’m worried about the potential associations (basically, the conversation we’re all having here now).

    18. P. M. Says:

      Wow! This explains so much. I wonder if John Ryan’s current clients are aware of the horrendous state of affairs in the Minneapolis office. If I were still a client, I would be VERY concerned.

    19. Can you hear me now? Says:

      Obviously John Ryan knew he was lying when he wrote his post, since he hasn’t responded to any of the people disputing him since.

      Let me add the final nail in the coffin to his bogus claims…

      Hey John, doesn’t it say “past” in this Technology Director’s profile?

    20. Current Ryanite Says:

      I may not be ‘upper management’ at John Ryan, but I was raised to believe that when the going gets tough, the tough get going — they don’t just leave.

      IMO, if those who left were not willing to step up to the challenges ahead, then we’re better off without them. Times change and a company has to change with them. We might not have been ahead of the ball on those changes (I wasn’t with the company at the time), but that doesn’t mean we can’t get ahead now.

      John Ryan *needs* good people who care and are willing to do their best every day to make a difference. I know I’m not, but even if I were the only one, I still wouldn’t leave the company in the lurch at such a critical time.

      There are plenty of good people who do care about their jobs (and providing good service) left at John Ryan Minneapolis. We still have several large, very important digital clients (and are in the arena looking to acquire more) that we work hard for every day.

      It’s not over till it’s over.

      And from where I sit every day, it is far from over.

    21. To current Ryanite Says:

      Good on you, in spirit.

      Let’s see how you feel in two years.

    22. Current JR Employee Says:

      Geez John, how many more people have jumped ship since this came out? Maybe there’s something to this… wasn’t your IT director there for about 3 mos before he ran?

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