W. James Farrell
Jim Farrell is the Retired Chairman of Illinois Tool Works (ITW), a multi-national manufacturer of highly engineered fasteners, components, assemblies and systems. ITW is comprised of approximately 900 decentralized operations in 57 countries, with more than 61,000 employees. Under Farrell, ITW bought more than 300 firms and paid more than $5.4 billion building the company into a $29.74 billion concern.
Since joining ITW in 1965, Mr. Farrell was involved in nearly every aspect of the company and has held numerous management positions in his 41-year career. He was named President and CEO in September 1995, and was elected Chairman in 1996. Farrell focused on a strategy of growth through acquisition, preferring small and midsize companies over major businesses.
As an active member of the civic and business communities, Mr. Farrell has served on the Boards of Directors of 3M, Abbott, Allstate Insurance Company, Kraft and UAL Corporation. Mr. Farrell is also affiliated with Commercial Club of Chicago as a member of The Civic Committee and Chairman of the State Finance and Task Force. He is a former Chairman of the Federal Reserve of Chicago and a former Chairman and active member of the Economic Club of Chicago.
Mr. Farrell’s educational associations include former Chairman of Junior Achievement of Chicago, a Trustee of Northwestern University and former Chairman of the Campaign of the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
Cultural and civic affiliations for Mr. Farrell include Director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, former Director of United Way of Metropolitan Chicago and Director of The Big Shoulders Fund. He is a Trustee and former Chairman of the Museum of Science and Industry and Trustee of Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center.
Mr. Farrell earned a bachelor’s degree in electric engineering from the University of Detroit. He served in the U.S. Army from 1965-1967.