Aarti Shah 25 Mar 2019 // 6:35PM GMT
SAN FRANCISCO — Ryan Donovan, whose public relations career spanned three decades across agency and prominent in-house roles, passed away suddenly last week at his home in Napa, California. He was 52.
Donovan was best known for his work at many of the Bay Area’s strongest PR operations, HP and Visa — and for developing an expansive network of colleagues within the San Francisco PR scene. He helped build Text100’s San Francisco office and Ketchum’s technology practice in the late 90s through 2003, at which point he joined HP for a five-year stint that included handling the company’s 2006 pretexting scandal.
“That was some of his best work and he was known for his crisis expertise,” said Vanessa Yanez, who is currently at HP. “He brought me into Ketchum at the beginning of my career and sponsored me. He took so many under wing because his network mattered to him.”
After HP, Donovan joined SanDisk to lead its corporate marketing. He stayed in that role for more than two years before joining Visa as SVP of communications. Over nearly three years at Visa, Donovan worked on many initiatives including its credit, debit and prepaid products, as well as Visa’s multimillion-dollar sponsorships with the Olympics, NFL and FIFA, among other areas.
Donvan left Visa to lead communications at the electronic healthcare startup Practice Fusion. In 2015, he joined Sitecore for two years and, most recently, had a short stint at Ruder Finn running its San Francisco office.
“Ryan and I shared a love of media relations, grammar and Broadway icon Idina Menzel! In many ways, I cut my teeth on client consulting and partnership working hand-in-hand with Ryan,” said Jennifer Temple who is now at HPE. She worked with Donovan while he was at HP and SanDisk and she was leading the business for H+K Strategies. “He held himself and his team to a high standard because he cared so much about his work and about his colleagues and friends. It was an honor to partner with him, to sing show tunes with him, to learn from him. He will be so very missed.”
Donovan’s husband Tom Pope preceded him in death in 2015. He is survived by his beloved dogs Lucy and Adam and many friends who will miss him dearly, according to an announcement provided to the Holmes Report.