Former Cain's Deliverer Takes over as CEO

By David Page Managing Editor | THE JOURNAL RECORD, February 19, 1999 | Go to article overview

Former Cain's Deliverer Takes over as CEO


David Page Managing Editor, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Scott Abbott, hired 18 years ago to drive a sales route for Cain's Coffee, has been named president and chief executive of the Oklahoma City-based company.

He succeeds Tom Donnell who is taking a position with Cain's parent company, Chock Full O' Nuts, in New York City, it was announced on Thursday.

Donnell had been president and CEO since 1981. He joined Cain's in 1965 when Golden Light Coffee of Amarillo was purchased. Donnell's father started Golden Light Coffee in the early 1920s. Abbott joined Cain's in 1981 after graduating from Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe, La. He said he evaluated Cain's opportunity for its benefits and potential -- not just on the level of his first job out of college. "I was not focused on my immediate job assignment as on the fact that I saw managers in their 20s, and I thought that spelled opportunity," Abbott said. His first job of driving and selling merchandise lasted for five years. "I saw firsthand the importance of interacting with customers, of listening when they tell you what works and what doesn't, of responding to their needs." William M. Cain started the company in 1919, walking into restaurants and selling coffee from a basket. "We still take the product to the customer," Abbott said. "We still service what we sell. We still manufacture the very best product we can." After five years as a route driver, Abbott moved up the management ladder serving as a food service sales manager, regional manager and zone manager in Shreveport, La., and Jackson, Miss. He relocated to Oklahoma City in 1991 to learn the retail side of the business. "One of the most important things about Cain's as a company is its focus on employee education," Abbott said. Donnell, the man he is replacing as president and CEO, started that focus on education, Abbott said. In the early 1980s, Donnell began professional education programs to help build a management team that was equipped to handle a changing marketplace. Abbott cites continuing education as one of the most important items on the company's agenda -- including starting a new corporate orientation program in April. …

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