Costco’s co-founder, Jim Sinegal, who is known for his colorful personality and love for the $1.50 hot dog and soda, is retiring at the age of 76. He is revered for not making decisions to appease Wall Street at the expense of his customers and employees. This philosophy is an example of his well known high level of integrity. Jim will work one more year full time for the company, helping with the transition and then he remain on the board of directors.
Seattle Times Article
Better article…from the Washington Post…
it’s worth pausing amid the plaudits and praises to consider another longtime CEO and founder who announced his retirement during the past few days. On Wednesday, Costco’s chief executive, Jim Sinegal, said he would be stepping down from the chief executive job at the warehouse club on Jan. 1, 2012. When he does, Corporate America will lose a leader of a very different sort. It’s hard to imagine anyone with less pretense, more discipline or more integrity leading a major corporation today.
Sinegal founded Costco with Jeff Brotman, the company’s chairman, in 1983 and expanded it in the 1990s when his company combined with Price Club, which was owned by Sol Price — who pioneered the warehouse concept and had been a mentor to Sinegal. From those beginnings, he’s created a warehouse behemoth that pulled in $76 billion in revenues in 2010. Despite the poor economy, customers kept paying the $50 to $100 annual fees for the privilege of shopping at Costco: 87 percent renewed their memberships in 2010. He laid no one off during the recession, other than short-term staff for holidays and store openings.
And yet, he has none of the trappings of success. Sinegal, who no doubt has become wealthy through Costco, makes about a third the pay of an average CEO. His salary is $350,000 a year, a fraction of the $1 million that’s common for most Fortune 100 CEOs. And his total take-home pay amounted to about $3.5 million in 2010 — a nice sum, to be sure, but again, far smaller than the median $9.3 million.