Billionaire business mogul John Catsimatidis promoted his 30-year-old son to president and chief operating officer of the $7 billion Red Apple Group, which has a vast empire that spans media, real estate, fossil fuels, and the Gristedes and D’Agostino’s grocery chains in New York City.
John Catsimatidis Jr., who was previously chief investment officer at the Manhattan-based company, was elevated after working for the family business for the past 12 years.
The son began at Red Apple while he was still an undergrad at New York University’s Stern School of Business.
“I’ve been around the business my entire life,” he said. “Every Sunday my father would take me and my sister to the grocery stores to teach us about merchandising.”
His outspoken dad will remain chief executive and chairman of the company, which Catsimatidis launched 56 years ago with his first Red Apple supermarket on the Upper West Side.
The promotion is Red Apple’s first public leadership announcement as the father grooms his son to take on a higher profile.
“I thought it was time and the kid deserves it,” the Greek-American business titan told The Post.
The staunch Republican, who ran for New York City mayor in 2013, hosts “The Cats Roundtable” radio show Sunday’s on WABC 770, the AM station he bought in 2019. He also hosts “Cats & Cosby” during the week.
“I’m still working seven days a week, but I’m spending more time on my hobbies,” Catsimatidis said.
Red Apple Group, which has 7,000 employees, owns the grocery chains, United Refining Company in western Pennsylvania, gas stations, an oil distribution network and has a residential real estate division.
The son’s professional experience has focused on turning around the distressed businesses the company acquired.
“John has a tremendous amount of contacts and energy,” the dad said. “Let them go to him now.”
The elder Catsimaditis is handing over more responsibility to his son as Red Apple looks to push into nuclear energy.
“The future of energy in this country is not going to be windmills and solar cells,” the self-made billionaire told The Post. “The next generation of energy will be small modular reactors that power our submarines and aircraft carriers.”
Catsimatidis said Red Apple has “signed up” 10 states that want nuclear reactors.
A potential deal could cost between $10 billion and $20 billion, he added, which would necessitate the family bringing in investors.
His son is partial to working with other families rather than private equity, explaining “We haven’t sold a company since the 1980s and 1990s.”
Red Apple, which owns five rental properties in Brooklyn, is expanding its real estate reach to the Sunshine State, where it’s building a condominium tower in St. Petersburg that will be “the tallest building on the west coast of Florida,” the son boasted.
Catsimaditis’ daughter, Andrea Catsimatidis, stepped away from the family business over the past couple of years to focus on politics.
Currently, she is the chairwoman of the Manhattan Republican Party.
“I hope my daughter will rejoin the company and seek out those opportunities that she enjoyed,” the dad said.