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The Founder of Panera Bread: 'I Wish I'd Fired More People' After stepping down as CEO in January, Ron Shaich looks back on what he wishes he'd done differently.

By Ron Shaich

This story appears in the March 2018 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »


I was the CEO of a public company for more than 26 years -- that's longer than Cal Ripken, Jr., played baseball. And I wasn't the only one who stuck around Panera for a long time. Many of my colleagues did, too. In one case, a senior executive grew up with me there for more than 20 years. His job eventually outgrew him, and he totally checked out. He knew it, too, but he couldn't bring himself to tell me. He just kept showing up to work. I pushed him and waited for him to step up. For years. But I didn't fire him.

Related: 4 Things Every CEO Needs to Focus on Daily

Looking back, I understand why: I was too obsessed with being a caring leader. What I should have done was let him go sooner, and many others like him.

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