10 Things You Didn’t Know About Craig Jelinek

Craig Jelinek is the current CEO of Costco. Curiously, Jelinek is relatively less vocal about his activities compared to a lot of the other CEOs out there, but there is nonetheless a fair amount of information out there about who he is as well as how he choose to run the corporation that has been entrusted to him.

Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Craig Jelinek:

Started Out At FedMart

Jelinek started out at a chain of discount department stores called FedMart, which started up in San Diego, CA before spreading throughout the Southwest of the United States. The chain was liquidated in the 1980s, but it might interest some people to know that a significant number of its stores were rebranded as Target stores, which provided that particular chain with a valuable foothold in Southern California.

Joined Costco in 1984

It was not until 1984 that Jelinek became a part of Costco. Since that time, he has climbed up its ranks, which has seen him handling a wide range of responsibilities over the course of his career. Some examples range from opening new stores to overseeing entire regions of operations.

Became CEO of Costco in 2012

In the end, Jelinek’s perseverance paid off, seeing as how he was elevated to the position of CEO of Costco in 2012. When that happened, he succeeded the founder of Costco James Sinegal, not least because he shared some of the same beliefs about how to succeed in a competitive market. However, Jelinek has also stated that he is who he is rather than a second Sinegal, which is as expected of his down-to-earth attitude.

Interested in East Asian Markets

When he was elevated to the position of CEO, Jelinek expressed an interest in East Asian markets such as Japan and South Korea. This is perhaps unsurprising, considering that those markets showed a great deal of potential for growth, which offered Costco a lot of lucrative possibilities.

Had Concerns About Chinese Market

However, it is interesting to note that Jelinek also stated at the time that he wasn’t interested in expanding into China because of his concerns about how business was done in the Chinese market. With that said, there are recent reports from late 2017 that he and the rest of Costco might be looking into launching in the Chinese market, which might be connected to the success of Walmart in said country.

Believes in Low Overhead

As the CEO of Costco, Jelinek believes in having low overhead. Simply put, Costco is interested in minimizing the costs of running its revenue-earning operations by focusing on its products and nothing but its products. In turn, this helps it to offer its products at its low prices.

Believes in Rotating Products

One of the most common problems of warehouse clubs is a limited selection of products, which can discourage customers by making the shopping experience that much less interesting for them. To combat this, Costco makes a deliberate decision to rotate its products on a regular basis, thus ensuring greater range for those who are interested.

Believes in Happy Employees

Costco is famous for putting great importance on the happiness of its employees. With that said, it is interesting to note that while Costco believes in paying its employees well by the standards of its chosen industry, it also believes in maintaining a relatively small workforce without actually cutting into its service for its customers. Something that helps to keep its costs manageable.

Puts Store-Branded Products At the Front

Jelinek has stated that Costco has an intentional policy of putting its store-branded products towards the front, which serves a number of useful of purposes. For example, said products familiarize customers with what Costco is like compared to its competitors. Furthermore, the store-branded products are by no means inferior to their branded counterparts, not least because a lot of them are made by the same manufacturers of famous brands.

Balances the Interests of the Stakeholders

There are some companies out there that believe in maximizing the payments that are made to the shareholders, but Costco isn’t one of them. Simply put, Jelinek believes that too much focus on the priorities of shareholders to the exclusion of other stakeholders can endanger a corporation’s long-term viability, which is why he prefers to balance the needs of his stakeholders to ensure that everyone is happy with what is happening.


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