John “Jack” Grundhofer, one of the architects who created the modern-day U.S. Bank, passed away at the age of 82.
Known for his long history in the banking industry and his post-career philanthropic efforts, Grundhofer was a visionary businessman who pushed for expansive growth. During his tenure beginning in 1990 as chairman, president and CEO of U.S. Bancorp predecessor First Bank System, Grundhofer led the company through 35 strategic acquisitions. When First Bank System bought Portland-based U.S. Bancorp, the company adopted the U.S. Bank name and Grundhofer retained the helm. He retired in 2002.
Andy Cecere, current U.S. Bancorp chairman, president and CEO, served as chief financial officer under Grundhofer.
“Jack was a natural leader with tremendous energy and a vision for what the bank could be that was bigger than what others thought possible,” said Cecere. “He led the company through some of the most challenging times in our history, and he made difficult decisions that were balanced, fair and intent on doing what was best long-term. He also had a big heart and a deep connection to communities. Banking and serving customers wasn’t just a business for Jack. It was personal and about relationships. Jack left an indelible impression on everyone he met. We are better because of his legacy.”
A Loyola University alum who played on a baseball scholarship, Grundhofer earned a degree in economics and first worked for Union Bank as a credit analyst and trainee. To earn extra money, he worked nights as a repo man for financed cars whose payments were in arrears. He attended night school to earn an MBA in 1964 from the University of Southern California and subsequently held leadership positions at Union Bank, Wells Fargo and First Bank System.
Grundhofer was an active philanthropist, serving as vice chairman for the Palm Springs International Film Festival and on the board of the Eisenhower Medical Center in California, whose physical therapy and rehabilitation services centers bears his and his wife’s names.
During his life, Grundhofer served on the boards of directors for Air California, Golden West Mobile Homes, The Donaldson Company, Minnesota Life Insurance Company and BJ’s Restaurants, and was a trustee of Loyola Marymount University. He also was a part of many professional associations including the Minneapolis Federal Reserve, and the Federal Reserve Board.