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Texas' Most Popular CEO Runs a Family Business with an Insanely Loyal Following
June 24, 2019
Source: Dallas News

Texas' popular grocer H-E-B has earned another measure of success. Its employees have rated Charles Butt, chairman and CEO, at the top of Glassdoor's Top CEO List for 2019.

Butt earned a 99% approval rating based on employee reviews and ranked second behind VMware's Pat Gelsinger (99%) and ahead of In-N-Out Burger's Lynsi Snyder (99%).

The average CEO approval rating across 900,000 employers reviewed on Glassdoor is 69%.

When people submit reviews about their employer, they are asked to rate several on-the-job experience factors, including their CEO's leadership and whether they approve, disapprove or have no opinion about their CEO's performance.

The new list from Glassdoor, a California-based online job search site that includes salaries and company reviews, is based on employee opinions shared in the 12-months ended on May 1.

Butt, who is known nationwide in the grocery industry as an innovator for creating private label foods, embracing technology and building supermarkets tailored to a neighborhood, has been on the list before, but this is his highest ranking. He's among a handful of grocery industry leaders in the U.S. for taking a business known for cookie-cutter supermarkets and creating more interesting places to shop.

Butt succeeded his father in the family business in 1971 when the company had 6,000 employees, 120 stores and $221 million in annual sales. Now it has 350 stores in Texas and 62 in Mexico, more than 116,000 employees and annual sales of $26 billion.

He has championed public education and literacy initiatives in Texas. In 2017, Butt established The Holdsworth Center with a $100 million of his personal wealth to create a nonprofit leadership institute for Texas public school administrators.

His philanthropy also extends to H-E-B's workforce.

In 2015, H-E-B established an employee stock ownership plan and has granted more than $1 billion worth of stock to 63,000 employees. The Butt family is giving 15% of the company to its employees. That program includes its Dallas-based Central Market division.

H-E-B, the largest Texas-based private employer, considers people its "key differentiator," the retailer's president Craig Boyan said in May during a discussion on technology-enabled disruption at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

"We believe the main thing we need to do is invest in people — and better people," Boyan said.

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