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Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw Retiring; Todd Jones Taking Helm

Ed Crenshaw, who since 2008 has led Publix Super Markets to unprecendented growth both organically and in new geographic markets, will retire from the Lakeland, Fla.-based grocer at the end of April. Todd Jones, who has served as president alongside Crenshaw, will add the CEO role as his successor.

Crenshaw – who is grandson of the company's founder and the fourth family member to lead the largest employee-owned supermarket chain in the United States and one of the 10 largest-volume supermarket chains in the country – began his Publix career in 1974 as a front-service clerk in Lake Wales, Fla.

After working in a variety of retail and support positions at the chain that's evolved to become one of the most admired retailers in the world and synonymous with supermarket retailing excellence, Crenshaw presided over a period of profound innovation and expansion at Publix, which operates 1,113 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina.

After holding a variety of retail and support roles, Crenshaw next assumed director of retail operations for the flagship Lakeland Division in 1984. Six years later, he rose to VP of the division and was elected to the board of directors. In 1991, he relocated to Atlanta to start the Atlanta Division as its VP, subsequently becoming EVP of retail in 1994 and president in 1996. Crenshaw has been CEO since 2008.

Staying on as Board Chairman

Although retiring from the role of CEO, Crenshaw will stay on as a member of the Publix board of directors, taking on the position of chairman of the board, effective May 3. At that time, current Chairman Charlie Jenkins Jr. will become chairman emeritus.

“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,” said Jenkins of Crenshaw. “He’s provided invaluable insights to our industry, serving on numerous boards.”

“I’ve been privileged to lead what could quite possibly be the best company in the world,” noted 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.”

Jones started out at Publix in 1980 as a front-service clerk in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., and worked in various store positions before becoming a store manager in 1988. He then rose through the ranks as district manager in 1997, regional director in 1999 and VP of the Jacksonville Division in 2003. In 2005, Jones became SVP of product business development. He was named president three years later.

Privately owned and operated by its 180,000 employees, Publix has 1,113 supermarket locations throughout the southeastern U.S. With 2014 sales of $30.6 billion, the company has been named one of Fortune's “100 Best Companies to Work For in America” for 18 consecutive years.

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