Thomas T. Ryan, 82, Was Executive and Teacher
Thomas T. Ryan, a former chairman of the Association of National Advertisers and vice president of advertising for The Gillette Company, died of cancer Wednesday in Edgartown. He was 82.
After serving three years with the 339 Fighter Squadron in the South Pacific during World War II, Mr. Ryan joined McCann Erickson Advertising in New York in 1945. As a vice president and account supervisor with McCann managing many key account relationships, he resigned in 1961 to join Cunningham and Walsh in New York as senior vice president. He later joined its board of directors and ran the agency's account management division.
In 1968 he left Cunningham and Walsh to join Gillette as vice president of Gillette North America in a newly created position to modernize its advertising and marketing of all the Gillette brands. Over the next 17 years with Gillette, he built the company's in-house advertising operations and coordinated the activities of each brand's individual agency.
He became a strong voice in the industry through his involvement with the Association of National Advertisers, which he also served as chairman. In this position, he was instrumental in the planning and developing the new Nielsen television audience measurement system, called the People Meter, as the arrival of cable television in the 1980s changed viewing habits. He also urged members of the ANA to resist the growth of gratuitous sex and violence on television throughout the 1980s.
After his retirement from Gillette in 1986, he went on to teach advertising and marketing for seven years at the Boston University School of Communication and for two more years at the Budapest University of Marketing Science in Budapest, Hungary. He also served as chairman of the board of the Oldfields School in Glencoe Maryland for three years.
Mr. Ryan was born in Bronxville, N.Y., where he was graduated form the Bronxville School and went on to earn a BA in English from Brown University in 1942. His 1951 marriage to Mary O'Brien of Ardsley-On-Hudson ended in divorce in 1977. He married Jane Sebring Herrick in 1997, and she survives him. His two children of his first marriage, Ted Ryan of Great Falls, VA and Mary L. Ryan of New York City, also survive him.