New Costco Prez Seen as Sinegal’s Successor, Maybe
In some cases it’s hard to separate certain chief executives
from their companies. You don’t think about Whole Foods without John Mackey
coming to mind. The same is true with Costco where Jim Sinegal is synonymous
with a mention of the retailer’s name.
Eventually, however, the seemingly
bigger-than-life CEO moves on and gets replaced. At Costco, there
has been some concern in recent years as to who might be named to take Mr.
Sinegal’s place once he chooses to step aside. (He is 74).
This week’s promotion
of Craig Jelinek from vice president in charge of merchandising to president
and chief operating officer has many thinking that he is the heir apparent.
Strasser, retail analyst at Janney Capital Markets, told The
Seattle Times that investors should be more comfortable
now “about a management transition when Jim Sinegal decides to step down.”
everyone will be happy, however, as some were hoping that Mr. Sinegal’s eventual
replacement would be more concerned with raising margins and reducing costs, perhaps by reducing labor costs. The Costco culture of paying its employees above market
rates, offering generous benefits packages and not going the union-bashing
route has led to criticism of Mr. Sinegal’s management in the past.
of succession is in the air, Mr. Sinegal has not indicated that he’s looking
to retire and find something new to do.
“Being very, very agile with the numbers is a very important element of the
business, and being able to go out and travel and visit the warehouses and
make sure you go to every opening,” he told the Times. “I’m
healthy and enjoying things and still working hard and reasonably adept at
what I’m doing.”
Questions: Should Costco make its succession plans public? Do you
see Craig Jelinek as a good choice to replace Jim Sinegal when he eventually
steps down from Costco? What qualities would you like to see in the next leader?