Jim Sinegal Retiring as Costco CEO
It’s fair to say that many of Jim Sinegal’s CEO counterparts in retailing don’t fully get him, although most would be quite happy to achieve anywhere near the type of results he has at Costco.
Mr. Sinegal’s Costco has been criticized over the years for caring more about its employees and customers than shareholders. The company pays wages substantially higher than many big box competitors and extends health insurance coverage to both part- and full-time workers.
In a 2008 interview with Fast Company, Mr. Sinegal said, "You have to recognize — and I don’t mean this in an acrimonious sense — that the people in that business are trying to make money between now and next Thursday. We’re trying to build a company that’s going to be here 50 and 60 years from now."
Now comes word that the man synonymous with Costco has decided to retire on January 1. Mr. Sinegal, who will stay on as a member of the company’s board and as an advisor, will be succeeded by Costco president and chief operating officer Craig Jelinek.
"It’ll be an upgrade," Mr. Sinegal told The Seattle Times. "He is well-liked and smart and energetic and all the things that I used to be."
"Not a lot’s going to change," Mr. Jelinek told the paper. "We’re both good with people, and we have the same values in terms of running the business."
Brian Sozzi, an analyst for Wall Street Strategies, told Bloomberg News that Mr. Jelinek "has seriously big, big shoes to fill. … This (Sinegal) is a man who pioneered how we consume goods and services on a daily basis, bringing an entirely new retail model to life."
- Costco Wholesale Corporation Reports August Sales Results; And Planned Management Change – Costco Wholesale Corporation/MarketWire
- Costco’s colorful CEO Jim Sinegal to retire – The Seattle Times
- Costco’s Jelinek to Take Over as CEO From Sinegal in January – Bloomberg News/San Francisco Chronicle
- CEO Interview: Costco’s Jim Sinegal – Fast Company
Discussion Questions: Why aren’t there more Jim Sinegals in retailing? What do you think were his greatest accomplishments at Costco?