SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- At Price Chopper business comes before family.
benefit of the family, which is why a lot of family businesses have gone down the tubes -- because there was too much attention paid to the family and not enough attention given to how the family fits into the business.
"At Price Chopper, we run the business for the benefit of the business, and we give the family the opportunity to run it and follow the rules we've established to keep the business healthy."
Although the company is privately held -- with the Golub family controlling approximately 53% of the stock and employees owning the other 47% -- "we try to run it like a publicly held company," Lew Golub said.
Lew Golub and his cousin, Neil Golub -- president and chief executive officer -- represent the second generation of their family to oversee Price Chopper. The company was founded in 1932 by two brothers -- Lew's father Bill and Neil's father Ben -- "so we both had the opportunity to work with the pioneers who set up this business," Lew Golub told SN.
Since the elevation last fall of Neil Golub to CEO -- a title Lew Golub had held since 1980 -- "Neil is taking on some new areas like strategic planning, but I will counsel and advise him, though he'll have the final say," Lew Golub said.
According to Neil Golub, "We've worked together for many years, and I treasure our relationship. But we're two different people, with different strengths, though our mutual goal is to operate a healthy company and to make decisions based on what's best for the company."
There's a third generation of Golubs in the business, including two of Lew's sons -- Jerel Golub, 42, vice president, administration and strategic planning, whose background is in accounting, plus work at store level and in merchandising before he was named controller, and David Golub, 38, a zone manager -- and Neil's daughter, Mona Golub Ganz, 36, manager of public relations, who previously worked in the stores and in merchandising, with responsibilities for setting up the chain's kosher and Hispanic programs.
"Family succession is one of the healthy things we've done," Lew Golub said. "And we've decided we want to continue to have the family in the business."
He said he expects the next generation to move to the senior management level when the time comes.
"Though I still enjoy the business, I'm not tied to it," Lew Golub, 68, told SN, "and I expect to retire in about a year-and-a-half or two years, after which I expect to be here only half-time if I'm not totally removed."
"I'll be around at least five or six more years," Neil Golub, 62, said. "I don't plan to work for the rest of my life, and at some point we will make changes to ensure there are people behind me with the skills to move up to the next level.
"And while we would prefer to promote someone from within the family, we always want to do what's right for the business, and if someone in the family was not ready and someone else from outside the family had the ability, that person could run the company."
"But the possibility of someone from outside the family becoming CEO is not likely," Lew Golub pointed out.