Founder, Chairman & CEO, Panera Bread Company
Ron is the Managing Partner of Act III Holdings, a $300 million fund that will invest in public and private restaurant and consumer companies that are driving long-term value creation and have the potential to significantly dominate their market niches. He is a frequent speaker on the dangers of short-termism and rampant investor activism and the quarter-to-quarter thinking it has inspired. “I believe a long-term perspective, a commitment to transformation and industry-specific experience remain the most important contributors to competitive advantage today. I want to help others realize that competitive advantage, so I’m putting my money where my mouth is.”
Ron Shaich is the Founder, Chairman and former CEO of Panera Bread, a groundbreaking restaurant brand that today has more than 2,400 bakery-cafes, over 120,000 associates and nearly $6 billion in annual systemwide sales. Highly respected for his ability to recognize and capitalize on marketplace opportunities, Ron disrupted an existing industry paradigm and found new pathways to building companies of value and with values. The result: Panera was the best-performing restaurant stock of the past 20 years, generating annualized returns in excess of 25% over the past two decades and delivering a total shareholder return 44 times better than the S&P 500 from July 18, 1997, to July 18, 2017 (when Ron led a take-private transaction for Panera).
Ron sits on the boards of Clark University, Cava, Clover Food Lab, Life Alive Organic Cafe, Tatte Bakery and Cafe and Open World. He formerly served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Clark University and on the boards of Whole Foods Market Inc., the Rashi School, the Lown Cardiovascular Foundation and the Alliance for Business Leadership. Ron is also a co-founder of No Labels, an organization that promotes bipartisan political problem solving and the development of a long-term strategic plan for the country.