Taking Stock

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Third Generation Ascends As Ryan Redner Takes Helm

Tough-minded, gritty, tenacious and highly competitive. While the late, great Earl “The Chief” Redner, his son Dick and Dick’s son Ryan clearly have different personalities, they share that same thread on how they approach the business. And now has come the time that Ryan will get his opportunity to continue a great family legacy, assuming the title of president and chief executive of the Reading, PA-based regional chain effective May 1.

The genesis of the Redner’s family success is remarkable in itself when you consider that “The Chief” didn’t really begin his own enterprise until his mid-40’s (having spent nearly 30 years with Grand Union where he became the youngest superintendent in the company’s history). While Earl Redner was an old school leader who breathed the importance of store operations, he was also a visionary, being one of the early pioneers of the supermarket “warehouse” movement. He also cared deeply about the company’s associates, and when the retailer established its employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) in 1975, it became one of the first supermarket organizations to give equity to its employees.

Dick Redner, who will remain chairman of the 64 store regional chain (44 supermarkets and 20 Quick Shoppe c-stores), deserves a lot of credit for taking the retailer to the next level. He ran the company during its greatest period of growth, expanding the company into the Delaware Valley as well as into Maryland and Delaware. He also remained focused on store operations and, under his leadership, Redner’s has grown to a company that now employs more than 4,700 associates/company owners. In addition to his role as chairman, Dick Redner will also assume the title of senior VP of strategic planning and will actively work with the executive staff on key business elements while serving in a consultative role to the CEO.

As for Ryan Redner, he’s ready for the big job. He’s been involved in the family business since he was a kid, having been mentored by two great leaders. After graduating from college in 1999, he joined Redner’s Markets on a full-time basis and has worked in virtually every facet of the business. Over the years, I’ve witnessed his maturity and his improved skill level in communicating with the associates. And as he’s moved up the management ladder, first as a board member in 2004 then as chief operating officer in 2007, I’ve been impressed not only by his leadership abilities but also his tenacity and strong work ethic.

“I felt it was time for the next generation. I and the board have full confidence in Ryan’s ability to provide leadership for our company as we take the next steps into building a strong, third generation of family leadership positions,” said Dick Redner.

I couldn’t agree more.