How 1 family built a healthcare dynasty

The Stryker family, creators and heirs of medtech company Stryker, are currently wealthier than other well-known family dynasties, like the Kennedys and the Rockefellers. 

The remaining Stryker family members have an estimated combined net worth of $15.9 billion. Here is how the family built a lasting healthcare dynasty that continues to grow today: 

The beginning 

In 1941, Homer Stryker, MD, an orthopedic surgeon from Michigan, found that several existing medical products were not meeting his patients' needs. He decided to create his own medtech products to rectify that. His original company was called the Orthopedic Frame Company. In 1942, he launched his first commercial product, which allowed caregivers to turn patients with serious back injuries while keeping the spine immobilized.

A family legacy 

In 1955, Dr. Stryker appointed his son, Lee Stryker, as the company's general manager. In 1964, Dr. Stryker retired and the company's name was changed to Stryker. By 1976, the company's sales had grown to $17.3 million, but Mr. Stryker died in a plane crash. 

A new CEO

In 1977, John Brown was named president and CEO of Stryker. He became chair of the company in 1980 when Dr. Stryker died. Now, Mr. Brown tops the list of the wealthiest people in the world, with an estimated net worth of $5.7 billion in 2024. 

Growth continues 

In 1985, Stryker's sales reached $100 million, and in 1997 the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. 

Stryker's continued success 

Today, Stryker continues to be a major player in the orthopedic, spine and medtech space, with billions of dollars in sales annually. In 2016, its sales exceeded $10 billion for the first time, and the company celebrated 40 years on the NYSE. It has continued to make new acquisitions and remains a staple brand in hospitals around the world. 

The Stryker heirs 

Today, three of Dr. Stryker's grandchildren, Pat Stryker, Jon Stryker and Ronda Stryker, remain billionaires thanks to their family's legacy. Ms. Ronda Stryker inherited 6% of the company from her parents and serves as the company's director. She is the only grandchild who sits on the board. Mr. Jon Stryker and Ms. Pat Stryker both have an inherited stake in the company but do not work in the healthcare industry. 

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