Costco CEO Craig Jelinek to Step Down, Replacement Named
Costco's longtime CEO Craig Jelinek is stepping down from the company after the warehouse club’s spree of pandemic- and inflation-fueled growth. The company said Wednesday that Ron Vachris, its current chief operating officer, will replace Jelinek. The change will take effect Jan. 1. In a company press release, Costco said the two executives have worked together over nearly the past two years, describing the move as “the culmination of the long-standing succession plan.” Jelinek has been at the helm of the warehouse club since January 2012. He will stay at Costco through April in an advisory role. He also plans to remain on the board of directors, the company said.
Total Retail's Take: Vachris is no stranger to the inner workings of Costco. He has been with the company for more than 40 years, rising steadily through the ranks. He began as a forklift driver and now assumes the top role within the organization. Quite a success story. However, he will have a tough act to follow. Jelinek has been at the helm during a prosperous time for Costco, which has been positively influenced by consumers' increasing penchant for buying goods, particularly grocery items, in bulk to offset inflation and help them control costs. In fact, Costco's stock price has increased 26 percent, outperforming both the gains of the S&P 500 and most other publicly traded retailers. Vachris will be tasked with sustaining and even building upon that momentum, leading to happy customers, employees and investors.