Costco’s Craig Jelinek: Top 2021 Barron CEOs

Craig Jelinek, CEO of Costco Wholesale since 2012

Photographic illustration by Hayley Warnham; Reference: Nati Harnik / AP / Shutterstock

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Wholesale Costco

excelled during the pandemic as customers took care of the essentials. Now he’s racking up more than 20% monthly sales gains as the US economy reopens and consumers splurge.

The company’s success reflects the work of CEO Craig Jelinek and a seasoned management team, who believe in treating customers and employees well. Jelinek, 68, rose through the ranks during a 37-year career at Costco, replacing co-founder Jim Sinegal as CEO in 2012.

Jelinek avoids the spotlight and is one of the few retail CEOs who does not regularly participate in quarterly earnings calls. Reflecting Costco’s informal culture, he wants employees to call him by his first name.

Costco operates approximately 550 stores in the United States and approximately 250 overseas. It will not increase the prices of branded products by more than 14%. His social relations are also praised; earlier this year, he increased his minimum wage to $ 16 an hour, and his average wage for hourly workers is $ 24 an hour. The turnover is extremely low; only 6% of workers leave after the first year.

Costco shares have almost quintupled over the past decade and are trading at 35 times futures earnings, one of the highest price-to-earnings ratios among large retailers.

Write to Andrew Bary at [email protected]


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