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Publix CEO announces retirement plans

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Todd Jones (left) and Ed Crenshaw

Todd Jones (left) and Ed Crenshaw

LAKELAND, Fla. — Ed Crenshaw, chief executive officer of Publix Super Markets Inc., announced on Wednesday that he will retire on April 30.

Crenshaw will be succeeded by Todd Jones, Publix’s president, who will retain the presidency, the company said.

Crenshaw has been with the privately held supermarket operator since 1974, when he was hired as a front-service clerk, the company noted. He was elected to the board in 1990. The following year, he moved to Atlanta to start the Atlanta Division as division vice president. He was promoted to executive vice president of retail in 1994 and to president in 1996. He was named CEO in 2008.

“I’ve been privileged to lead what could quite possibly be the best company in the world,” remarked Crenshaw. “Company ownership provides our associates amazing opportunities, and with that comes the responsibility to continue to grow our company and invest in each other. The time has come to turn over the reins, and I am pleased to have a leader with the experience of Todd who is ready to take the next step in his career. I am confident in his ability to lead our company into the future and to continue to make Publix a great place for both customers and associates.”

Crenshaw is the chain’s fourth CEO, and he is the grandson of founder George Jenkins.

“The board of directors is grateful for Ed’s 42 years of dedicated service to Publix, our associates and the communities we serve,” Publix chairman Charlie Jenkins Jr. said in a statement. “He’s been a strong leader keenly focused on our continued growth in current and new markets and committed to the development and promotion of our associates. He’s provided invaluable insights to our industry, serving on numerous boards. The board looks forward to working with Ed to continue the success of Publix.”

Crenshaw will remain a member of the board and is slated to become chairman when Jenkins becomes chairman emeritus in May.

Jones began his Publix career in 1980, also as a front-service clerk. He became a store manager in 1988. He was promoted to district manager in 1997, regional director in 1999 and vice president of the Jacksonville Division in 2003. In 2005, Jones was promoted to senior vice president of product business development. He was named president in 2008.

Publix is the largest majority employee-owned company in the nation, with 1,113 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina. It employs 180,000 people and had more than $30 billion in sales in 2014.

Publix has been named one of Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” every year since 1998, and ranked first in the Temkin Customer Experience Ratings this year. Its pharmacies are typically ranked near the top in customer satisfaction among brick-and-mortar pharmacies by J.D. Power and Associates.