HOUSTON -- Randalls Food Markets here said Robert R. Onstead will retire tomorrow as chairman and will take the title of chairman emeritus.
will retain his seats on the boards of Randalls and Bruno's, Birmingham, Ala., "so I will certainly keep an interest in the food industry."
Randalls operates 115 stores, including 50 here, 53 in Dallas and 12 in Austin, with sales of approximately $2.5 billion.
Onstead is the last survivor of three partners who founded the chain in 1966. He headed the chain until 1986, when his son, R. Randall Onstead, became president, leaving him free to oversee real estate, store planning, site selection and financial issues.
In March 1996, Onstead gave the title of chief executive officer to his son, while he retained the title of chairman. Since then, the senior Onstead has spent most of his time in Dallas -- home base of Tom Thumb Stores, which Randalls acquired in August 1992 -- serving as a liaison with the parent company.
"Like Randalls, Tom Thumb was a family-oriented company, even though it was publicly owned by the time we acquired it, but there was no one from Houston in Dallas, and the people there felt their voice wasn't being heard," Onstead told SN.
"Since moving to Dallas more than two years ago, I've had some of the best times in my life, working with the people there. But now it's time to move back to Houston."
In June 1997, Randalls was sold to an affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., a New York-based investment firm.