Raymond Ackerman Pick PayRemembering Raymond Ackerman: Exploring The Pick n Pay Founder's Entrepreneurial Journey and Billion-Rand Empire [Image: The Citizen]

Remembering Raymond Ackerman: Exploring The Pick n Pay Founder’s Entrepreneurial Journey and Billion-Rand Empire

Raymond Ackerman died today, September 7, 2023, at the age of 92. He was a renowned South African businessman, philanthropist, and author.

ALSO READ: Goodbye to a Retail Legend: Pick n Pay Founder Raymond Ackerman Dies

He founded Pick ‘n Pay supermarket group, one of the largest retail chains in Africa, and also owned other business ventures such as Ackermans clothing stores. According to some sources, Raymond Ackerman had a net worth of R9.6 billion as of 2023.

He was one of the richest people in South Africa and a respected retailer who championed consumer sovereignty and social responsibility.


How Raymond Ackerman Built His Wealth: Pick n Pay, Ackermans

Raymond Ackerman was born on March 10, 1931, in Cape Town, South Africa. His father, Gus Ackerman, was a Lithuanian immigrant who started Ackermans clothing stores in 1916. Raymond grew up in a modest home and learned the value of hard work and honesty from his father. He studied commerce at the University of Cape Town and graduated in 1951.


Raymond Ackerman Pick Pay
Remembering Raymond Ackerman: Exploring The Pick n Pay Founder’s Entrepreneurial Journey and Billion-Rand Empire [Image: NSRI]


Ackerman then joined the Greatermans group as a trainee manager and worked his way up to become the managing director of Checkers, a food retailer operated by Greatermans. He expanded Checkers to 85 stores across South Africa and introduced innovative concepts such as central buying, trading stamps, and low prices.

However, in 1966, he was fired by Greatermans for refusing to participate in price-fixing schemes with other retailers. He decided to use his severance package and a bank loan to buy four small stores in Cape Town that were part of Pick ‘n Pay, a struggling chain owned by Jack Goldin.

ALSO READ: Patrice Motsepe OWES me R1 million : Senzo Meyiwa’s dad

Ackerman transformed Pick ‘n Pay into a successful supermarket group that focused on customer satisfaction, employee empowerment, and social welfare. He adopted the slogan “the consumer is king” and offered quality products at affordable prices. He also invested in staff training, profit-sharing, and community development.

Ackerman expanded Pick ‘n Pay to other regions and countries, such as Zimbabwe and Australia. He also diversified into other sectors like banking, insurance, travel, and liquor. The billionaire faced fierce competition from other retailers, such as Shoprite and Woolworths, but he maintained his loyal customer base and reputation.

He retired as the chairman of Pick ‘n Pay in 2010 and handed over the reins to his son Gareth Ackerman. Ackerman remained involved in the business as a non-executive director and a major shareholder. He also wrote several books about his life and business philosophy.


What Raymond Ackerman Left Behind

Raymond Ackerman’s wealth was not only measured by his financial assets but also by his social impact and legacy. He was a generous philanthropist who supported various causes such as education, health care, arts, sports, and environmental conservation.


Raymond Ackerman Pick Pay
Remembering Raymond Ackerman: Exploring The Pick n Pay Founder’s Entrepreneurial Journey and Billion-Rand Empire [Image: Pick n Pay]


He established the Raymond Ackerman Foundation in 1979 to fund various charitable projects and initiatives. He also donated millions of rands to various institutions such as the University of Cape Town, where he funded the Raymond Ackerman Academy of Entrepreneurial Development.

Ackerman was also a vocal advocate for democracy, human rights, and social justice in South Africa. He opposed apartheid and supported the transition to a multiracial society. He was awarded several honours and awards for his contributions to society, such as the Order of the Baobab from former President Nelson Mandela in 2000.

He also left behind a family fortune of around R5 billion ($259.9 million) on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in 2023. His son Gareth holds a 25.92% stake in Pick ‘n Pay, which has a market cap of almost R19 billion ($1 billion). His other three children, Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, Jonathan Ackerman, and Wendy Ackerman are also involved in the business or philanthropy.

He is survived by his wife Wendy Ackerman, whom he married in 1954; his four children; his 10 grandchildren; and his two great-grandchildren.


By Rumpel

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *