James D. Sinegal (born January 1, 1936) is the co-founder and former CEO of Costco, an international retail chain.
He was born January 1, 1936, into a Catholic working-class family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He attended Helix High School in La Mesa, California, and earned an AA at San Diego City College in 1955. He earned a BA from San Diego State University in 1959.
After Sinegal started as a grocery bagger at FedMart in 1954, he discovered that he loved the retail business, and was excited by the opportunities at this rapidly growing retailer. At FedMart, he worked his way up to executive vice president in charge of merchandising and operations. He was a vice president of merchandising for Builders Emporium 1977-1978, and an executive vice president for the Price Company 1978-1979. From 1979 to 1983, he worked with Sinegal/Chamberlin and Associates, a company which acted as a broker and sales representative for food and non-food products. Together with Seattle retailer Jeff Brotman, he co-founded Costco. From 1983 until his January 2012 retirement, Sinegal served as Costco's president and CEO. He remains on Costco's Board of Directors. As CEO, Sinegal was well known for traveling to each location every year, to inspect them personally—a task that virtually all major retail chain leaders delegate to subordinates. Sinegal's innovations made Costco the first "warehouse club" to include fresh food, eye-care clinics, pharmacies, and gas stations in its mix of goods and services.
Sinegal was a protégé of the legendary Sol Price, widely considered to be the 'father' of the "warehouse store" concept (i.e., selling high volumes of a small variety of goods, at supposedly 'wholesale'-level-low prices, to a select group of customers—who pay a membership fee in exchange for the right to shop there). Sinegal is known for a benevolent style of management rooted in the belief that employees who are treated well, will in turn, treat/serve customers well. Sinegal, through Costco, provided his employees—at every level of the company, including the stores—compensation and benefits that are much higher than retail industry norms. For example, over 90% of Costco employees qualify for employer-sponsored health insurance; the U.S. retail industry average is just under sixty percent. As a result, Costco has the lowest employee turnover rate in retail...
Quotes by James Sinegal
More Quotes by James Sinegal