10 Things You Didn’t Know about Publix CEO Todd Jones

Todd Jones is the current head of Publix Super Markets, which is a supermarket chain of regional significance. Currently, said supermarket chain is headquartered in Lakeland, FL. However, its operations extend the borders of Florida, stretching to encompass much of the American Southeast. While Jones is the current President and CEO of Publix, it is interesting to note that those are far from being the sole positions that he has had at the retailer, seeing as how he has come up from the ranks. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Todd Jones:

1. Todd Means “Fox”

As strange as it sounds, Todd comes from a Middle English word that means “fox.” Generally speaking, it is believed to have started out as a name for someone who resembled said animal in some manner, whether because of their red hair or because of their cunning nature.

2. Jones Is a Patronym

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Jones is indeed connected to John. To be exact, Jones is a patronym meaning “John’s son.” It is interesting to note that Jones is particularly common in Wales because the traditional Welsh practice of using patronyms was being replaced by the adoption of surnames at around the same time that traditional Welsh names were being replaced by English names such as John.

3. Started Out as a Bagger

Jones started out as what is called a front-service clerk in 1980, which is a position that might be more familiar to most people as a bagger. From that point forward, he took on a number of positions at the store until by 1988, he had become the store manager. In total, this means that Jones has more than 30 years’ experience at Publix.

4. Climbed the Ranks

Upon becoming a store manager, Jones continued to climb the ranks. By 1997, he had become responsible for the local district, and by 1999, he had become responsible for the local region. Eventually, Jones winded up as the vice president of the division that operated in Jacksonville, which was followed by appointments to other senior management roles.

5. Interested in Retail

Some people might be curious about Jones’s choice to stay at the same retailer for such a long period of time. If so, one reason is that Jones claims to have a passion for the retail business, which is something that was passed on to him by some of the people who he had met at the earlier points of his career.

6. Saw Publix as a Place Where He Could Build a Career

Another reason is that Jones had a solid understanding of the fact that Publix promoted its leaders from within its own ranks instead of choosing them from the external labor pool. Due to this, Jones believed that he could build a real career by remaining with the retailer, which isn’t always possible with other businesses out there.

7. Head of an Employee-Owned Business

One of the main reasons that Publix is run in said manner is because it is an employee-owned business. This is critical because employee ownership means that employees have more of a stake in the success of the business, which is something that can motivate them to provide a better performance than what they would bother to provide under other circumstances. Said stake is reflected by a number of interesting statistics about Publix, with an excellent example being how the average store manager with the retailer has a tenure of more than 25 years.

8. Has Said “Never Forget Where You Came From”

In one interview, Jones stated that one should “never forget where you came from.” This was said in the context of running a business as one of its senior management. Essentially, it can be summed up as a statement on the importance of remembering what it is like to be in the position of the people on the ground because they are the ones who will be expected to carry out the senior management’s strategic decisions.

9. Believes in Publix’s People-First Culture

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Jones is a proponent of the “people-first culture” that can be found at Publix, which predates his leadership. In short, the “people-first culture” is the idea that if Publix treats its employees well, its employees will treat its customers well. Something that has beneficial effects for the retailer’s customer relations.

10. Sees Failures As Opportunities to Learn

Speaking of which, it is interesting to note that Jones see failures as opportunities to learn from them. After all, by understanding what went wrong, interested individuals can reduce their chances of making similar mistakes in the future, thus getting at least something out of the process.


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