Ron Shaich

Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Panera Bread

Photograph by Peter Foley/BloombergRon Shaich is the founder, chairman, and chief executive of Panera Bread.

Thirty years ago, Ron Shaich set out to change the world by changing the way America eats. By founding not one, but two successful restaurant concepts (Au Bon Pain and Panera Bread), Shaich shook up the industry by offering an antithesis to fast food—hand-made, artisanal food served in warm and welcoming environments by people you can trust. Today, Panera Bread and its franchisees serve more than 8 million people each week, employs more than 80,000 associates, and is a leader in the restaurant business. The company is ranked No. 5 in the Food Service category on Fortune’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” list.

Today, Shaich directs a range of long-term innovation and strategic initiatives for Panera Bread as the company’s chairman and CEO. Having made his name as an entrepreneur who expanded his business into a national chain of nearly 1,800 bakery cafes in 40 states and Canada, Shaich remains focused on building a company of quality over the long term.

Shaich was awarded the 2011 Mufso Pioneer Award for being one of the most significant contributors in the history of the food service industry. Past winners have included Colonel Harland Sanders, Ray Kroc, Norman Brinker, and J. Willard Marriott Sr. In 2005, Shaich was awarded IFMA’s Gold Plate Award for being the outstanding leader in the food service industry. As well, he has twice received the Nation’s Restaurant News Golden Chain Award, which is given to figures who exemplify success and leadership in the food service industry.

Shaich has also been a national finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year. Panera and Shaich’s innovative management style have been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Inc., Fast Company, the Economist, Time, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, all three network evening news programs (NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, ABC World News Tonight), and several books. Shaich also frequently represents Panera Bread on CNBC, Bloomberg, CNN, and Fox News.

Shaich is 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 is a member of the board of directors of the Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation. Shaich was formerly chairman of the board of trustees of Clark University. He is also a co-founder of No Labels, a political organization aimed at addressing the politics of problem solving.

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, Mass., with his wife, Nancy, and children, Michael and Emma.

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