Just three months after September 11, 2001, Joseph Neubauer proudly stood on a platform overlooking the New York Stock Exchange for the celebratory ringing of the opening bell. On that morning, the immigrant son of Holocaust survivors took public the managed-services giant Aramark Corp. (RMK ), which he had led as chief executive for 18 years.
His timing might have been better. Declining investor confidence, a sluggish economy, and threats of a baseball strike--stadium concessions are one of Aramark's biggest markets--made it a poor time to go public. Despite all that, Neubauer, 61, led Aramark to a record year. Net income rose 35%, to $239.1 million, for the year ending Sept. 27, 2002, while sales increased 13%, to $8.8 billion.
That performance has kept Aramark shares trading near their $23 offering price. But Neubauer hasn't sold a share of his 17.6% stake. He plans to give as many as 1 million shares to charity. So he'll have even more reason to convince investors that Aramark is undervalued.
-- Led Aramark to record profit and revenues in each quarter of its first year as a public company
-- Successfully integrated company's largest acquisition, a $1 billion (sales) facility-services business, bought from ServiceMaster in 2001