Mark Ryan played a key role in the establishment of the Lowy Institute and has served on its board since 2002. In 2018 he established the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas and served as its inaugural executive director. He is an adviser to the Lowy Family Group and a number of major public companies and institutions, and is an Ambassador of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute. He is a former journalist and was senior adviser to Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating. For 25 years he was a senior executive at Westfield Corporation.