John B. "Jay" Gerlach, Jr. was elected chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer in February 1997. He had been president and chief operating officer since May 1994. Jay joined the Lancaster Colony companies in April of 1976 and has served in various capacities, including executive vice president, for nine years. Founded in January 1961 by his grandfather, John J. Gerlach, and his father, John B. Gerlach, Lancaster Colony has grown into a diverse manufacturer and marketer of specialty foods and glassware and candles. Annual sales are currently running over $1 billion. The company takes pride in having increased cash dividends every year for the past 47 years. Mr. Gerlach has served on the Lancaster Colony board of directors since November 1985. In addition, he currently serves as a member of the board of directors of Huntington Bancshares, Inc., The Columbus Foundation, Children's Hospital, Recreation Unlimited Foundation, The Ohio State University Foundation, and the Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital Board. Mr. Gerlach grew up in the central Ohio area and is a graduate of The Ohio State University.