Panera Bread’s CEO is stepping down in hopes of fixing our economy

Ron Shaich will step down at the end of 2017, to shed light on a problem that he believes is destroying the US economy: “short-termism.”

November 10, 2017

Panera Bread’s founder and CEO, Ron Shaich, announced that he will step down at the end of 2017, not due to their struggling growth numbers, but to shed light on a problem that he believes is destroying the US economy: “short-termism.”

He says that stepping down will allow him to “push the debate” against Wall-Street’s obsession with short-term growth, telling Business Insider, “I’ve been a CEO longer than Cal Ripken played baseball. And I can tell you: Short-termism has pervaded capital markets.”

What is short-termism exactly?

Short-term growth concentrates on setting quarterly objectives, usually in the digital space (marketers have nearly doubled their investment in search optimization in the past 4 years, spending nearly $3.4B on it in 2016).

But according to certain marketing studies, short-termism has caused a decline in companies’ long-term expansion: chasing low-cost digital marketing at the expense of brand-building to drive long-term sales. AKA, ol’ Ronnie Shaich ain’t exactly wrong. And he’s not alone.

There’s actually a large group of business leaders worried that companies are too focused on making money for shareholders, rather than spending resources on their employees and innovation — both of which create larger problems for the economy.

So, he’s saying “au revoir” — but first, he’s buying Au Bon Pain

Last Wednesday, Panera purchased their eerily similar fast-casual competitor Au Bon Pain for an undisclosed sum, a chain that he helped launch in the 80s.

Shaich claims the acquisition will help Panera grow its business in areas that they don’t have as much of a presence in. Think of it as a little parting gift bought on somebody else’s dime…

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