Ruan Family of Companies Mourns Loss of Chairman Emeritus John Ruan III

Sep 12, 2021

It is with profound sadness that the Ruan family of companies announces the loss of Chairman Emeritus John Ruan III. Following a long illness, Mr. Ruan died peacefully, and surrounded by his loved ones, on September 11. Mr. Ruan was 78 years old. Our prayers and deepest condolences are with the Ruan family as they mourn the loss of their beloved patriarch. 

John Ruan III HeadshotMr. Ruan served the Ruan family of companies throughout his entire career and left an indelible mark on team members within Ruan Transportation Management Systems (RTMS), Bankers Trust, Concentric International, and Ruan, Incorporated, as well as charitable organizations, the John Ruan Foundation Trust and the World Food Prize.

“Under John’s guidance and leadership, the Ruan companies have all grown to be among the best places to work in our respective industries,” said Ruan’s CEO Benjamin McLean. “John was proud of the role our companies play in supporting our communities and thousands of employee families, just as they supported his own family since 1932. We will continue to celebrate and build on his visionary legacy as we reflect on the positive impact that he had on all of us.”

Don Coffin, CEO and president of Bankers Trust, said, “Few people have had more influence on the Central Iowa community than John Ruan III. While he didn’t enjoy the limelight, Mr. Ruan quietly demonstrated significant business and philanthropic leadership to make our community more forward-thinking and vibrant. I know his family will carry on his important mission.”

Beyond his dedication to the Ruan family of companies, Mr. Ruan was a strong advocate for the transportation industry. He truly believed in the essential role of professional truck drivers and did all he could to support them. As part of his commitment to Ruan and other businesses, Mr. Ruan served on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's board of directors and held a one-year term as chairman of the board in 2011. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions. 

A proud son of Iowa, Mr. Ruan will be remembered as a principled and brilliant businessman, committed to giving back to his community. Mr. Ruan and his family have played a significant advocacy and philanthropic role in Des Moines and communities around the country. The Ruan family is dedicated to the fight against world hunger through its support of the World Food Prize Foundation, of which Mr. Ruan was chairman. His extensive list of board memberships has included Hubbell Realty Company, Iowa Business Council, the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the Downtown Community Alliance, Chief Executives Organization, and Castle Pines Golf Club. He served as trustee of Culver Educational Foundation and was past chairman of the Des Moines Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Greater Des Moines YMCA.

As part of the family’s succession plan, John Ruan IV assumed the role of chairman of the Ruan companies in August 2021, with the guidance and support of their boards of directors and executive teams. 

John Ruan III is survived by his wife Janis, his children John IV (Alison) and Rachel McLean (Ben), and grandchildren Abigail, John, Catherine, Jack, and Emma. Details around his memorial service and celebration of life will be released separately by the Ruan family.