Jim Sinegal will step down as chief executive officer of Costco Wholesale Corp. and be succeeded by Craig Jelinek.

Costco Wholesale, Jim Sinegal, Craig Jelinek, chief executive officer, CEO, COO, chief operating officer, president, Jeff Brotman, Costco, warehouse club, Costco’s August sales

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Costco chief executive Sinegal to step down

September 1st, 2011

ISSAQUAH, Wash. – Jim Sinegal will step down as chief executive officer of Costco Wholesale Corp. and be succeeded by Craig Jelinek.

The warehouse club chain said late Wednesday that Sinegal is slated to exit the CEO post on Jan. 1, 2012, and hand the reins over to Jelinek, currently president and chief operating officer.

“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.”

Plans call for Sinegal to remain active with the company in an advisory role and assisting with the leadership transition through January 2013. He will also continue to serve on the board of directors and will stand for re-election at the annual meeting next January.

Jelinek, a 28-year Costco veteran, started out as a warehouse manager in 1984 and has since served in every major operations and merchandising role. When he was appointed president and COO in February 2010, an office of president was created to enable Jelinek and Sinegal to coordinate with each other on major company matters. At the time, some industry analysts said Jelinek's promotion signaled Costco's CEO succession strategy.

According to Costco, Sinegal, Jelinek and chairman Jeff Brotman have worked closely together over the last 18 months.

Jelinek's succession to CEO was announced along with Costco’s August sales results, which once again were stellar.

Net sales rose 17% to $6.9 billion, while comparable-club sales gained 11%, based on a 9% domestic increase and an 18% jump in international comparable-club sales. Excluding the favorable effects of gasoline sales and foreign currency exchange, chain-wide comparable sales advanced 7%, as international clubs posted an 11% increase and results at U.S. clubs improved 6%.