As truenorth celebrates 100 years, Bailey Lyden and Lindsay Lyden share their perspectives on transitioning leadership to the fourth generation.
As fourth-generation executives in the Lyden family business, True North Energy, cousins Bailey Lyden and Lindsay Lyden credit the generation above them for easing their integration into the company and positioning the chain for the future. They also know fi rsthand the joys and challenges of joining a family company as next-generation leaders.
In 2019 the Lyden family is celebrating the 100th anniversary of True North Energy, which started as The Lyden Oil Co. in 1919. Based in Brecksville, Ohio, the company operates 108 truenorth c-stores in Ohio and Illinois and supplies fuel to 200 dealer locations.
William Geoffrey Lyden Sr. — Bailey’s and Lindsay’s great-grandfather — founded The Lyden Oil Co. in 1919 as a bulk fuel delivery business. Over the next 50 years, the company grew to include 120 filling stations. When the second generation — William Geoffrey Lyden Jr. — became CEO, he propelled the business forward into c-store retailing and opened the first c-store under the banner Fast Check Food Mart in 1982.
The third generation, William Geoffrey “Geoff” Lyden III (Bailey’s father) and Mark Lyden (Lindsay’s father), were at the helm in 1999 when The Lyden Co. formed a 50-50 joint venture with Shell Oil and created True North Energy. Geoff Lyden served as CEO from 1994 until he passed away in November 2018. Today, Mark Lyden serves as CEO.
“The third generation really brought the company to the next level,” said Lindsay Lyden, vice president of development. “They had the vision to form the joint venture with Shell after the BP and Amoco merger. They purchased assets in Chicago at the right time. My dad and uncle excelled at buying assets at the right time, and we were able to grow a lot because of their foresight.”
Lindsay joined the company in 2006 after graduate school, first working in the purchasing department buying capital items for raze and rebuilds and other construction projects. “That gave me a great foundation,” she said.