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The Lakeland Ledger reports that Charles "Charlie" Jenkins Jr. is stepping down this week as president of Publix Super Markets, to be succeeded by William "Ed" Crenshaw.

Described by industry expert Burt Flickinger as “top of the class” and “a great innovator…a great marketer…and a very tough competitor, Jenkins, according to the Ledger, “is leaving his successor with an empire in peak condition. Publix's earnings rose nearly 8 percent last year to a record $1.2 billion as sales climbed more than 6 percent to $23 billion.

“ Though the company's stock - independently evaluated and sold only to employees and board members - has seen minor declines in recent valuations, same-store sales remain healthy and Publix enjoys a significant lead over its competition in Florida with nearly 40 percent of the state's market share.”

Jenkins will take over as chairman of the board, succeeding his cousin, Howard Jenkins.

Crenshaw tells the St. Petersburg Times, “I think Charlie Jenkins Jr. got Publix headed in the right direction, doing all the right things … Will there be changes? Sure, as our customers require us to change according to their needs. But there won't be huge immediate changes in our company. I think we are headed in the right direction and folks are doing a good job.”

KC's View:
Couldn’t have said it better than Burt Flickinger.