Henny Penny’s leaders gathered the whole company workforce to Eaton High School’s auditorium in January 2015 to announce the new employee-ownership plan. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Well-known area company chairman announces retirement

Steve Cobb, Henny Penny chairman of the board, will retire at the end of the year, the company said Tuesday.

Rob Connelly, Henny Penny chief executive, will assume the board chairmanship, the company said.

Among his responsibilities in recent years, Cobb oversaw transition of the ownership of the company to an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) structure and transferred CEO responsibilities to Connelly.

Cobb will continue serving as a member of the Henny Penny board.

Photo: Staff Writer

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In 1975, Steve’s father, Jack Cobb, took an ownership role at Henny Penny. The younger Cobb joined the company in 1988, taking on roles ranging from sales to manufacturing before becoming president and CEO in 1997.

“Over the last 60 years, my family has been intimately involved in building Henny Penny into a global leader in the food-service equipment business, starting with my father,” Cobb said in a release from the company. “I expanded on his vision as Henny Penny became the trusted partner of the world’s most well-known restaurants.”

Cobb is a past officer and president of the North American Food Equipment Manufacturers organization. He has served as the University of Dayton board chair, Preble County United Way campaign chair, YMCA of Greater Dayton board chair and Preble County Development Partnership campaign co-chair.

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“Steve has deeply touched the lives of many people at Henny Penny, in our industry and in our community,” Connelly said in the statement. “Under Steve’s leadership, Henny Penny became recognized for building the best equipment in the world — a relationship driven, people first company committed to solving the needs of our customers and improving the communities where we work, live and raise our families.

“We are unique,” the CEO added. “We know it. We feel it. And we will honor the Cobb legacy by continuing to be a thriving company that’s the best place to work and grow.”

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