Raymond Ackerman, founder of the Pick n Pay and a legend of South African business, has died. He was 92.
Educated at Bishops Diocesan College in Cape Town, he went on to do a commerce degree at the University of Cape Town and then joined the retail chain Ackermans founded by his father, Gus. In 1967, he and his wife Wendy bought four Cape Town stores named Pick n Pay, which quickly developed into the chain of supermarkets we know today.
“From the outset, he lived by the core values that the customer is queen, that we must treat others as we wish to be treated, and that doing good is good business. These values have guided the business for over 56 years, and today, the Pick n Pay Group serves millions of customers in more than 2 000 stores across South Africa and seven other African countries,” said Pick n Pay in a statement about his passing.
Ackerman launched 26 battles against government over deregulation of the petrol price but never won the war. He was famous for his belief that governments should always support the man in the street and not cartels, and that as food and petrol were two of the main expenses for vulnerable consumers, he wanted to keep prices of these commodities as low as possible.
He was also one of the business leaders who put pressure on the apartheid government for a move to democracy. He was a member of the Urban Foundation, the think-tank whose aim was to bring about peaceful change in South Africa.
He strongly supported equal opportunity and merit-based policies and opposed job reservation. In 1989, Ackerman and a group of businessmen met the newly appointed President FW de Klerk in the Cape Town offices of Pick n Pay and pointed out the urgency for Nelson Mandela to be released from prison.
In 2004, he established the Raymond Ackerman Academy for Entrepreneurial Development in partnership with UCT and later the University of Johannesburg, which has produced hundreds of new business owners since.
Ackerman is survived by his wife, Wendy, four children, 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. – © 2023 NewsCentral Media