Richard B. Cohen

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Richard B. Cohen
Born 1952 (age 64–65)
Residence Keene, New Hampshire, U.S.
Nationality United States
Known for CEO and owner of C&S Wholesale Grocers
Net worth Increase$11.0 billion USD (August 2013)[1]
Spouse(s) Jan Cohen; 3 children
Parent(s) Lester Cohen (father)

Richard B. "Rick" Cohen (born 1952) is an American billionaire; and the CEO and sole owner of C&S Wholesale Grocers, the largest wholesale grocery supply company in the United States.


Cohen was born to a Jewish family.[2] In 1918, Cohen's grandfather, Israel Cohen, co-founded the food distributor, C&S Wholesalers in Worcester, Massachusetts.[1][3] Israel's son, Lester, a bomber navigator during World War II, expanded the business into supplying military bases.[3] In 1970, Richard Cohen graduated from the Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts and then in 1974, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in accounting, and joined the family company. After a painful union strike, he persuaded his father to move the company to Brattleboro, Vermont.[3]

In 1989, Cohen took control of C&S after his father retired. In 2003, he moved the company headquarters to Keene, New Hampshire.[3] As the food distribution business is very low margin and customer retention is critical,[3] Cohen has grown the company by focusing on efficiencies and customer support.[1] 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.[3] 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.[4] Since 2008, Cohen has been a director at the Food Marketing Institute and is a director of Food Distribution Institute.[1]


The Holocaust studies center at Keene State College was renamed after the Cohens in thanks of their financial support.[1] 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.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Cohen is married to Jan Cohen, executive producer of the Kaddish Project, a touring musical on genocide; the couple have three daughters.[3]