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As a privately held business, Ruiz Foods is in the process of developing younger family members to take over. Fred Ruiz has two children in the business. Kim, who is a strong marketing person, is vice chairman and will become chairman within the next three or four years. Bryce, his oldest son, became president and COO in March 2006, and the plan calls for him to become CEO. Fred’s youngest daughter, Kelly, is a shareholder and serves on the board, while youngest son Matt is a junior in college.
When he retires, Fred Ruiz plans to play a role in introducing his grandchildren to the company and their possible stewardship. “We take them to different food events (the Food Marketing Institute’s Supermarket Show, board meetings), to introduce them to the company in a fun way. But there’s a method to our madness. We’re transitioning now to the third generation and preparing the fourth in a subtle way. If they think good thoughts about the company, they may be interested in making it a part of their life. It’s fun to take the children shopping and wait in the frozen food aisle until a customer walks by and talks up our products.”
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