Longtime Costco CEO Jim Sinegal announces retirement

August 31, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 4:30 p.m. Aug. 31, 2011

Jim Sinegal, a Costco cofounder and the Issaquah-based company’s longtime CEO, said Wednesday he plans to retire in January.

Costco’s board elected Craig Jelinek, president and chief operating officer, as president and CEO, effective Jan. 1.

Costco employs more people — about 2,700 at the corporate headquarters and flagship warehouse — than any other business in Issaquah.

“Costco has a very strong culture and a deep bench of management talent,” Sinegal said in a statement. “I have total confidence in Craig’s ability to handle his new responsibilities and feel we are fortunate as a company to have an executive of his caliber to succeed me as chief executive of Costco.”

The board selected Jelinek as president and chief operating officer in February 2010, and established the Office of the President to coordinate on major issues. Jelinek, Sinegal and board Chairman Jeff Brotman, a Costco cofounder, worked together in the role.

Jelinek started as a warehouse manager in 1984 and subsequently served in every major role related to the company’s operations and merchandising activities.

Sinegal intends to remain with Costco through January 2013 to advise and assist Jelinek during the transition. The outgoing CEO also plans to remain on the company’s board.

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4 Responses to “Longtime Costco CEO Jim Sinegal announces retirement”

  1. Mike Donaldson on September 1st, 2011 5:35 am

    You are going to be missed Jim. We thank you for being the greatest CEO any employee can ask for. I wish you the best on your retirement.

  2. Renne Sung on September 1st, 2011 11:55 am

    I started out with Costco when I barely turned 18 back in 1996. My intentions were to work through the winter untill I was ready to join the Marines in the spring. Needless to say I never made it that spring, I quickly realized that I was already in the place where I wanted to make a career. I always heard of people worried about losing their jobs, not getting ahead at work, or just doing something they don’t enjoy but need the money. I didn’t understant how other companies didn’t use the Costco way in their day to day business deals. Amost 15 years later I’m still here and proud that I made that decision during my early days. Jim, thank you for the many opportunities you have given me. I can’t begin to express my gratitude after the career you have given me. You have not only given me a chance with my career growth but you have given me and my famiy a better life. Not many people or other companys can say that once the profits have been spread, to look back and say we turned a profit for our shareholders and given quality of life to our employees during that process. Now that I think about it, its probably a hand full of companies that can say that. Jim, no I mean Mr Sinegal you have earned the title and respect in my house, best wishes to you and your family be proud of what you have done, your positive foot print is one that will be seen centuries from now. Civilazation studies the rise and fall of empires, then, now and decades to come people will study the rise of Costco and how it stood the test of time, goverment, economic struggles etc..

    Renne Sung

  3. Maria Furtado on December 8th, 2011 3:15 pm

    I totally agree with every word of Renne Sung 526 .. I worked only for 5 years at 526 …I had to quit to pursue my life in a different country .. but the much I learned not only about work skills but also life skills and the way every one is ‘family’ at this company changed my way to be in the life …and will live forever with me !! I wish more companies follow Costco way with his workers !!
    And yes I wish Mr Sinegal the VERY BEST on his new journey ..and say Thank you for you to be who you are …God bless you !!

  4. Maria Furtado on December 8th, 2011 3:17 pm

    sorry just ignore the -526- after Renne’s name please … typo !!

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