Costco’s Jim Sinegal receives National Retail Federation Gold Award

February 11, 2014

The National Retail Federation recently awarded Jim Sinegal, Costco co-founder and board member, its 2014 Gold Medal Award.

“Jim was an obvious choice for NRF’s Gold Award, given his commitment to the industry and Costco, and dedication to creating such a well-respected culture throughout the organization he helped build,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a news release.

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Costco looms large in race between Barack Obama, Mitt Romney

October 30, 2012

Pundits claim the presidential contest could hinge on so-called Walmart moms, but another discount chain is often mentioned on the campaign trail, too.

Jim Sinegal

Both President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney embraced Issaquah-based Costco on the stump, albeit for different reasons.

Support from Costco cofounder and former CEO Jim Sinegal allows Obama to highlight a business success in a feeble economy. The affluent Romney’s affinity for Costco allows the former Massachusetts governor to project a more down-to-earth image.

“Costco’s story is the American story,” Sinegal proclaimed to delegates and dignitaries in a September speech at the Democratic National Convention focused on job creation and the economy.

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Local Democrats rally, volunteer as party gathers in Charlotte

September 11, 2012

First lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama gesture to the crowd at the Democratic National Convention on Sept. 6. By Emiliana Chavez

The television audience for the 2012 Democratic National Convention remembers the event for speeches from former President Bill Clinton, first lady Michelle Obama and more, but local delegates to the convention said projects far from the convention floor defined the days in Charlotte, N.C.

The agenda for the event included the usual party business — a blur of speeches and celebrations — and Southern hospitality aplenty.

Washington Democrats sent 121 delegates and eight alternates to the convention. The delegate ranks included Issaquah resident Jennifer Sutton and Sammamish resident Dorothy Willard.

Sutton joined a volunteer effort from Craftsman and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” host Ty Pennington called House United. The project enlisted volunteers at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., to start construction on a home.

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Costco cofounder at Democratic convention: ‘Costco’s story is the American story’

September 6, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Sept. 6, 2012

Costco cofounder and former CEO Jim Sinegal offered a forceful defense of President Barack Obama’s economic policies Wednesday in a speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Jim Sinegal

Sinegal said Obama is more likely to create a hospitable climate for job creation than Republican rival Mitt Romney. The former leader of Issaquah-based Costco also countered GOP criticism of Obama’s “you didn’t build that” line.

“We built our company in a place where anyone can make it with hard work, a little luck and a little help from their neighbors and their country,” Sinegal said to delegates and attendees at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. “I’m here tonight because Costco’s story is the American story.”

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Costco cofounder supports, hosts President Obama

July 31, 2012

Jim Sinegal

Costco cofounder and former CEO Jim Sinegal endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election July 23 and defended the president’s economic policies, less than 24 hours before Sinegal hosted Obama at a campaign fundraiser.

Sinegal and cofounder Jeffrey Brotman launched Costco in 1983. Sinegal stepped down as CEO in January and handed the reins to Craig Jelinek.

Costco relocated corporate headquarters to Issaquah in the mid-1990s. The company is the largest employer in the city, encompassing about 2,700 employees.

Sinegal’s support for Obama comes as presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney lambasted the president’s small business policies.

“You might be seeing some ads or hearing some folks say that President Obama doesn’t support small business owners,” Sinegal wrote in a blog post on the Obama campaign website and in a mass email to supporters. “But he understands that small businesses grow and prosper because of individual initiative — because entrepreneurs like you and me do the hard work it takes, and that we can’t do it alone.”

Obama attended a $35,800-per-person campaign fundraiser and, later, a $5,000-per-plate dinner at Sinegal’s Hunts Point home.

Costco cofounder Jim Sinegal supports, hosts President Obama

July 24, 2012

NEW — 11 a.m. July 24, 2012

Costco cofounder and former CEO Jim Sinegal endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election Monday and defended the president’s economic policies, less than 24 hours before Sinegal hosts Obama at a campaign fundraiser.

Jim Sinegal

Sinegal and cofounder Jeffrey Brotman launched Costco in 1983. Sinegal stepped down as CEO in January and handed the reins to Craig Jelinek.

Costco relocated corporate headquarters to Issaquah in the mid-1990s. The company is the largest employer in the city, encompassing about 2,700 people in corporate offices and at the flagship warehouse in Pickering Place.

Sinegal’s support for Obama’s economic policies comes as presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney attacked Obama for the phrase, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Romney used the out-of-context remark to portray Obama as denigrating the success of small business owners.

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Peek behind the scenes as documentary examines ‘Costco Craze’

April 24, 2012

Issaquah-based Costco sells $4 billion in produce, almost $2 billion in televisions, 55 million rotisserie chickens, 2.6 billion gallons of gasoline and 3 million pairs of eyeglasses each year.

The largest warehouse club chain on the planet is the subject of a CNBC documentary, “The Costco Craze: Inside the Warehouse Giant,” scheduled to debut April 26.

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Morningstar names former Costco leader Jim Sinegal as CEO of the Year

January 17, 2012

Costco cofounder and former leader Jim Sinegal is Morningstar’s 2011 CEO of the Year, executives at the Chicago-based financial data provider announced Jan. 4.

Jim Sinegal

Sinegal stepped down as CEO of the Issaquah-based warehouse chain Jan. 1. Craig Jelinek, president and former chief operating officer at the No. 3 retailer in the United States and the largest employer in Issaquah, succeeded Sinegal.

Morningstar recognizes a chief executive each year for showing exemplary corporate stewardship, independent thinking and lasting value for shareholders, and for leaving a legacy in his or her industry.

“James Sinegal, who has served as CEO since co-founding Costco in 1983, has created and maintained value for all company stakeholders during his tenure,” Paul Larson, chief equities strategist and editor of Morningstar StockInvestor, said in a statement. “The average Costco employee is attractively compensated relative to other retail workers, keeping employee turnover low and productivity high. Although its top-notch benefits package and superior wages are costly on the surface, the firm is reimbursed handsomely, generating more than $500,000 in sales per employee.”

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Former Costco leader Jim Sinegal is named CEO of the Year

January 4, 2012

NEW — 3:30 p.m. Jan. 4, 2012

Costco cofounder and former leader Jim Sinegal is Morningstar’s 2011 CEO of the Year, executives at the Chicago-based financial data provider announced Wednesday.

Jim Sinegal

Sinegal stepped down as CEO of the Issaquah-based warehouse chain Jan. 1. Craig Jelinek, president and chief operating officer at the No. 3 retailer in the United States and the largest employer in Issaquah, succeeded Sinegal.

Morningstar recognizes a chief executive for showing exemplary corporate stewardship, independent thinking, lasting value for shareholders and leaving a legacy in his or her industry.

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Jim Sinegal to retire as Costco CEO

September 6, 2011

Issaquah-based warehouse club selects longtime manager as successor

Costco members, breathe a sigh of relief.

Incoming CEO Craig Jelinek does not intend to change anything about the $1.50 hot-dog-and-soda combo.

“That price will never increase — I can’t say never, because you never know — but I’ve got to tell you, I don’t want to be the one that does it,” Craig Jelinek joked Sept. 1, a day after Costco CEO and cofounder Jim Sinegal announced plans to retire.

Sinegal, a legendary fan of the company’s hot dog deal, plans to step down as CEO on Jan. 1 after transforming Issaquah-based Costco from a lone South Seattle warehouse almost 30 years ago to 592 outposts around the globe nowadays. The frugal Sinegal built the empire by offering generous benefits to employees and deep discounts to customers.

Jim Sinegal

Jelinek, president and chief operating officer at the No. 3 retailer in the United States and the largest employer in Issaquah, started at Costco as a warehouse manager in 1984.

“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.”

Though Sinegal, 75, is stepping down as CEO, he intends to remain at Costco through January 2013 to advise and assist Jelinek, 59, through the transition. The outgoing CEO also plans to remain on the Costco board.

Both executives learned about retail from warehouse club pioneer Sol Price, the late FedMart and Price Club founder. (Price Club and Costco merged in 1993.)

Costco board members selected Jelinek as president and chief operating officer in February 2010 — a sign the company intended for the longtime employee to succeed Sinegal.

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