Folks who have heard me speak know that that community-building behavior by CEOs is something I admire and long for more of, nowadays particularly. Jack Brown, CEO of Stater Bros. Markets, is now my
A story in today’s LA Times reports the death of Mr. Brown, though folks in Southern California will recognize his company as a household brand name. We lived near a Stater Bros. Market when we were growing up and shopped there all the time.
Sadly, before his death, I was unaware of Brown’s story, of his philanthropy and decision to not move the company HQ from its base in San Bernardino, a tough town that didn’t need any more companies leaving. He founded the Boys and Girls club of San Bernardino and the Children’s Fund of San Bernardino.
Too often CEOs have their own wealth lining in mind. I’m reminded of the behavior of the CEO of Wells Fargo, who oversaw a lot of unethical stuff, then fired the mid-level folks who were allegedly ordered to perpetrate it, then retired with a $124 million paycheck.
The story of U.S. capitalism over the last generation or two is replete with guys behaving in this way. Shredded communities are the result. So is, if you ask me, our national opiate epidemic.
Communities, seems to me, are built by many people. But an important part of that are the decisions made by company owners and managers. Those decisions can crush, or enliven, a community. Too often, in the recent history of our country, it’s the former.
Sounds like Jack Brown retired fairly wealthy for doing the right thing. That’s the way it should be.