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President, CEO & Founder
Michael Saunders and Company
I'm 64, and about three years ago, I said to myself, "It's ridiculous to think you're going to live forever." My succession plan became my son, Drayton, who'd been running a wholesale bagel business in Santiago, Chile, for eight years. I went down there and said to him, "If you have an interest in becoming part of this company, there's a role for you."
He came to a management retreat, spent a lot of time talking with me and meeting with tax and business planners and decided it was time to come back. I built this business brick by brick, and because Drayton had a business himself, he knew what that takes. Drayton's arrival gave our managers confidence because they knew our company's core values weren't going to change. Each year, Drayton takes on more responsibility, and it gives everyone comfort to know he's growing in knowledge of the company and the industry.