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Raymond Ackerman Biography

Raymond Ackerman, a South African businessman who was born on 10 March 1931, is credited with purchasing the Pick ‘n Pay supermarket group from the company’s original founder. In the 1960s, he made a purchase from Jack Goldin that included the acquisition of four businesses. Raymond Ackerman served as the chairman of the board from 2000 to 2010, when he resigned.



Soon after receiving his Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Cape Town in 1951, he became a trainee manager for the Greatermans group within the Ackermans division. At the time, he was only 20 years old.  His father Gus had established 3 Ackermans shortly after the end of World War I, but the company was eventually acquired by the Greatermans group in 1940.

In the end, Ackerman was extended an offer to work for Greaterman at the company’s headquarters in Johannesburg. The first food retailing supermarkets appeared in South Africa in the early 1950s. At that time, the country was still in its infancy as a nation. The chairman of Greatermans, Norman Herber, made the decision to launch a new grocery store chain called Checkers. Checkers was finally turned into a spectacular success thanks to Ackerman, who was eventually put in command of the company.

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Ackerman was one of the recipients of the Outstanding Young South African award in 1965; Gary Player was another. By 1966, when he was 35 years old, he had become the managing director of 85 Checkers stores; nevertheless, he was terminated from his position in the same year. In retaliation, Ackerman purchased four stores in Cape Town that were operating under the name Pick ‘n Money using his severance pay as well as a loan from the bank. [2]: 3 Pick ‘n Pay eventually became one of the largest supermarket chains in Africa thanks to his direction. In 2006, the company had a turnover of 37 billion Rand and more than 124 supermarkets, 14 hypermarkets, and 179 franchised stores. The Pick ‘n Pay Group is responsible for the employment of more than 30,000 workers throughout a number of African nations.


Pick ‘n Pay is a multinational conglomerate that is still run as a family enterprise. All five members of his family, including his wife Wendy and his daughters Suzanne, Kathryn, Jonathan, and Gareth, are employed by Pick ‘n Pay or its charity. Gareth took over the responsibilities that had been held by his father on October 21, 2009, and he also became chairman on March 1, 2010.

Consumer rights and community engagement 

Ackerman was an outspoken advocate for the rights of consumers. He advocated for decreased cigarette pricing with Anton Rupert and brought up the issue of higher bread prices with the administration. His most significant battle was with the government in an effort to deregulate gasoline pricing, but he was ultimately unsuccessful. The company imports branded goods in order to maintain competitive pricing. The Ackerman family’s dedication to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital can be traced back to Gus’s participation in the fundraising efforts that led to the institution’s founding in 1956. The Ackermans made a contribution to the hospital in the amount of R4 million in 2006. Pick ‘n Pay played a significant role in Cape Town’s campaign to win the right to host the Summer Olympics in South Africa in 2004. The Raymond Ackerman Academy of Entrepreneurial Development first opened its doors in Cape Town on February 14, 2005, with the goal of cultivating business expertise and training future managers and leaders for the South African nation.


In 1986, Rhodes University conferred upon him an honorary doctorate in law from that institution. The University of Cape Town, which he attended in the past, presented him with an honorary doctorate in business in the year 2001. In 2004, he was ranked 79th on the list of the Top 100 Greatest South Africans. In November of 2004, the Financial Times ranked him as one of the world’s 100 best business leaders, and he was the only South African to make the list. It is common practice in South Africa to place him in the same category as Harry Oppenheimer and Anton Rupert. The Synergos Institute’s Southern Africa office presented Ackerman and his wife Wendy with the 2010 David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership in Africa Award. This honor was bestowed upon them by the organization.


Raymond Ackerman published three books on his experiences and with advice for young entrepreneurs.

  • Ackerman, Raymond: Hearing Grasshoppers Jump street . The story of Raymond Ackerman as told to Denise Prichard. Cape Town: David Philip, 2004. ISBN 0-86486-662-3
  • Ackerman, Raymond: The Four Legs of the Table. Raymond Ackerman’s simple, straight-forward formula for success as told to Denise Prichard. Cape Town: David Philip, 2005. ISBN 0-86486-617-8
  • Ackerman, Raymond: A Spat to Catch a Mackerel. Key Principles to build your business. Cape Town: Jonathan Ball, 2010. ISBN 978-1-86842-369-9


  • Gerber, Amelda: “Entrepreneurs kry nuwe leerskool. Raymond Ackerman verskaf geld om sentrum by sakeskool te vestig.” Die Burger, 15 February 2005.
  • Die Burger, 9 March 2006.
  • La Vita, Murray: “Mister A. moet nou groet.” Die Burger, 12 March 2010.
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