Ron Shaich is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Board of Panera Bread Company, where he previously served for over 25 years as the company’s Chief Executive Officer. Shaich began his career in the bakery-cafe industry in 1981, when he opened a small cookie store in downtown Boston. Shortly thereafter, he combined his cookie store operations with a local bakery to co-found Au Bon Pain Co., Inc. In 1993, Shaich led Au Bon Pain’s purchase of a 19location bakery-cafe concept called Saint Louis Bread Company, which would become Panera Bread. Today, the Company operates or franchises over 1,450 locations in 40 states and Ontario, Canada. System-wide sales in 2010 exceeded $3 billion.
Under Shaich’s leadership, Panera has been the singularly best performing restaurant stock when measured over the last decade and the second best performing consumer stock on the S&P consumer index when measured over that same decade. Today, Panera is the 6th largest publically traded U.S. restaurant company.
In his many years as CEO, Shaich received widespread recognition for his leadership. He was awarded the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association’s Gold Plate Award for being the outstanding leader in the food service industry. As well, Shaich frequently represents Panera Bread on CNBC, Bloomberg and Fox News. The Company and Shaich have been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Inc., The Economist, TIME, Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and several books.
Shaich also serves as President of the Panera Bread Foundation and recently spearheaded the Panera Cares initiative, through which the Foundation created nonprofit community cafes aimed at addressing issues related to food insecurity. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation and on the Board of the Rashi School. Shaich formerly served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Clark University and is a former Treasurer of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.
Shaich received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Clark University in 1976 and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 1978. He resides in Brookline, MA with his wife, Nancy, and children, Michael and Emma.