Gary Rogers, who played a hands-on role over more than four decades in some of the of Bay Area's most notable corporate, civic and philanthropic endeavors, has died.
Rogers, 74, is best known for his nearly 30 years at the helm of Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream. As Rogers told the story, he was down to his last $2,000 with four young children in 1977 when he and partner William Cronk scraped together $1 million from lenders and investors to buy the company. It then had 75 employees and $6 million in annual sales. Nestle acquired Dreyer's in 2006 for $3.2 billion, at which time it was the largest U.S.-based ice cream company and employed 8,000 people.
Rogers also played a key role in the acquisition of another major Bay Area company, heading Safeway's board of directors and spearheading negotiations that resulted in its sale to rival Albertson's in 2015 for $9.2 billion.
In addition to Safeway, Rogers served over the years on 15 corporate boards, including Levi Strauss Co., Shorenstein Properties and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
After the Dreyer's sale, much of Rogers' efforts were devoted to philanthropy through the Rogers Family Foundation. Many contributions were directed toward Oakland, where Dreyer's had been headquartered.
At UC Berkeley, he studied medical engineering and as a rower was named an All University Athlete. He rowed in the 1964 U.S. Olympic trials and remained an active part of the Cal community. In 1964, Rogers earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Rogers is survived by his wife Kathleen “Cab” Rogers; mother Virginia Rogers; brothers Don Rogers (Judy) and Jim Rogers (Sandy); and sons Andy Rogers (Janine), Matt Rogers (Amy), Brian Rogers (Katie) and John Rogers (Lynnsay).more » « less