meet Ron

biography | photos

on Shaich: Founder, Chairman and CEO of Panera Bread.
Ron Shaich is founder, chairman and CEO of Panera Bread, a groundbreaking restaurant brand that today has over 2,000 bakery-cafes, 100,000 associates and more than $5 billion in annual systemwide sales. Ron is highly respected for his ability to recognize and capitalize on marketplace opportunities. In addition to founding Panera, which established the high-growth fast-casual restaurant segment, Ron earlier founded and grew Au Bon Pain, establishing the bakery-cafe segment. With both companies he disrupted an existing industry paradigm and found new pathways to building companies of value and with values. Panera stock has been up 58-fold in the last 20 years and has been the best-performing stock in the restaurant universe--bar none--when measured over the same 20 years.

Ron has been recognized repeatedly for his industry-defining skill and visionary leadership. In January 2017, he was named the second most influential leader in the restaurant industry in the Nation's Restaurant News 2017 Power List. He was also awarded the Nation’s Restaurant News 2011 Pioneer Award for being one of the most significant contributors to the history of the restaurant industry. Past winners have included Colonel Harland Sanders, Ray Kroc, Norman Brinker and J. Willard Marriott Sr. Ron was awarded IFMA’s Gold Plate Award for being the industry’s outstanding leader in 2005. And he twice received the Nation’s Restaurant News Golden Chain Award, recognizing industry leadership and success. In addition, Ron was a national finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003.

Under Ron's leadership, Panera has also garnered numerous honors through the years. Among them, Panera has been named one of "The World's Most Admired Companies" by Fortune magazine for the past five years. Institutional Investor named Panera's leadership to its 2016 All-American Executive Team. And Fast Company named Panera the No. 1 Most Innovative Company in Food in 2015.

Known for his innovative management style and social consciousness, Ron has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, The Economist, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Boston Globe,, Bloomberg News and on MSNBC, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News and ABC World News Tonight and in several books. He is a LinkedIn Influencer and a frequent guest on CNBC.

Ron serves as President of the Panera Bread Foundation and spearheaded the Panera Cares initiative, through which the Foundation creates nonprofit community cafes aimed at addressing issues related to food insecurity. He formerly served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Clark University and on the boards of 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, a subject close to his heart since his early years as a political consultant.

Ron received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Clark University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School. He is also the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Clark University. He resides in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife, Nancy, and children, Michael and Emma.

March 2017

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