Richard B. Cohen
Richard B. Cohen
|Born||1952 (age 67–68)|
|Education||University of Pennsylvania (BS)|
|Known for||Owner of C&S Wholesale Grocers|
|Net worth||$11.0 billion USD (June 2018)|
|Title||Chairman and CEO of Symbotic|
|Spouse(s)||Jan Cohen; 3 children|
|Parent(s)||Lester Cohen (father)|
Richard B. "Rick" Cohen (born 1952) is an American billionaire and the sole owner of C&S Wholesale Grocers, the largest wholesale grocery supply company in the United States.
Cohen was born to a Jewish family. In 1918, Cohen's grandfather, Israel Cohen, co-founded the food distributor, C&S Wholesalers in Worcester, Massachusetts. Israel's son, Lester, a bomber navigator during World War II, expanded the business into supplying military bases. In 1970, Richard Cohen graduated from the Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts and then in 1974, he graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a degree economics, concentrating in accounting, and joined the family company. After a painful union strike, he persuaded his father to move the company to Brattleboro, Vermont.
In 1989, Cohen took control of C&S after his father retired. In 2003, he moved the company headquarters to Keene, New Hampshire. As the food distribution business is very low margin and customer retention is critical, Cohen has grown the company by focusing on efficiencies and customer support. C&S has been able to attain excellent efficiencies - less than 2 percent of the orders processed have errors or omissions - by using generous performance incentives combined with self-managed teams of workers who are responsible for assembling customer orders thereby eliminating costly supervisors. If a customer is having trouble, rather than letting them go bankrupt (and losing them as a customer), Cohen will often purchase them outright, restructure their operations, and then sell them later for a profit. Since 2008, Cohen has been a director at the Food Marketing Institute and is a director of Food Distribution Institute.
The Holocaust studies center at Keene State College was renamed after the Cohens in thanks of their financial support. In 2002, Cohen was a national finalist for Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year award. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate from Assumption College. He serves on the Board of Trustees at the Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts.
Cohen is married to Jan Cohen, executive producer of the Kaddish Project, a touring musical on genocide; the couple have two daughters and one son.
- The Daily Mail: "Revealed, America's most modest billionaire: Tycoon worth $11bn is so down-to-earth that neighbors don't recognize him - on street where average home is $294,000" By Helen Pow August 5, 2013
- The Tablet Magazine: "The Jewish Billionaire No One's Heard Of" by Adam Chandler, August 5, 2013.
- Bloomberg: "Hidden Billionaire Cohen Hauls Fortune in Unmarked Trucks" by Brendan Coffey & Zohair Siraj, August 5, 2013; accessed May 3, 2014.
- Coffey, Brendan and Siraj, Zohair. "Hidden Billionaire Cohen Hauls Fortune in Unmarked Trucks", Bloomberg, 5 August 2013. Accessed 23 May 2016.
- Robbie Whelan (20 September 2016). "Fully Autonomous Robots: The Warehouse Workers of the Near Future". The Wall Street Journal.