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…