The Atrium Health family celebrates the life and legacy of Ed Brown, a prominent business leader and selfless philanthropist who inspired others to make a difference in the community.
Born in Savannah, Georgia, Ed attended Sacred Heart Catholic School and Benedictine Military School, graduating in 1966. He earned a B.S. in Industrial Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology and completed an MBA in Finance at Harvard Business School in 1972. Ed spent the next several decades climbing the corporate ladder in banking, with only a three-month military leave to serve his country in the U.S. Army. Ed later joined Bank of America, where he served as a leader for 32 years under the tutelage of his friend and mentor, Hugh McColl.
In 2010, Ed came out of retirement when Rick Hendrick asked him to lead Hendrick Automotive Group, the largest privately held operator of automobile dealerships in the United States. Throughout Ed’s nine-year tenure as president and CEO of the company, he dedicated himself to expanding its corporate social responsibility programs, leaving a lasting impact on the company’s culture and the communities it serves.
Ed’s commitment to the community is illustrated by the time, resources, and energy he dedicated to making life better for others. He served on the Atrium Health Board of Commissioners for 19 years, including as chairman from 2013 to 2021, where his leadership was instrumental in guiding the health care system through significant changes, including the partnership with Wake Forest Baptist Health.
“From challenging us to build new access care sites in vulnerable communities to making sure we took care of our own teammates to pushing us to invest our resources in Black-owned equity firms, Ed worked tirelessly to make certain that Atrium Health was truly a place for all,” said Advocate Health CEO Eugene Woods.
Ed and his beloved wife Jan found joy in giving back to others. Over the years, they supported many causes close to their hearts, mostly in education and health care. In 2020, Ed seized the opportunity to help lead significant change in our community with a $2 million transformational gift, establishing the Jan & Ed Brown Center for Pulmonary Medicine at Atrium Health. Just two years later, Jan and Ed contributed $1 million to help bring novel therapies in lymphoma treatment to Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute.
While Ed created an immeasurable legacy, he felt the most pride in his role as a husband, father, and friend. His legacy will forever be a beacon of hope, guiding us to be kinder and more generous.
Atrium Health Foundation extends our heartfelt sympathy and gratitude to Jan and the Brown family. To honor Ed’s legacy, tribute contributions may be made in his memory to the Ed and Jan Brown Lymphoma Research Fund at AtriumHealthFoundation.org/tribute.