10 Things You Didn’t Know about AutoZone CEO William C. Rhodes III

William C. Rhodes III is the head of AutoZone, Inc., which is a retailer that specializes in aftermarket automotive parts and accessories. In total, the retailer has more than 6,000 stores situated all around the world, meaning that its reach is immense. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Williams C. Rhodes III:

1. Went to University of Tennessee at Martin

Rhodes went to University of Tennessee at Martin. Like its name suggests, said school is one of the campuses to make up the University of Tennessee system. For a significant period of time, it was the one public university that could be found in West Tennessee outside of Memphis.

2. Studied Accounting

When Rhodes was at the University of Tennessee at Martin, he studied accounting. Said field plays a critical role for not just businesses but also other organizations for the simple reason that it is responsible for recording financial information, processing it to gain useful insight, and then communicating its findings to interested parties in an effective and efficient manner. As such, it is no exaggeration to say that organizations couldn’t be run without accounting to provide its leadership with critical data about what is happening with their operations.

3. Went to University of Memphis

Later, Rhodes went to the University of Memphis, which came into existence because the Tennessee Legislature decided in 1909 that the state needed three schools for the three grand divisions of the state plus a fourth school for African-American students. In the end, the choice for West Tennessee came down to Jackson and Memphis, which resulted in Memphis winning out because the proposed location was situated closer to the rail line.

4. Studied Business Administration

At the University of Memphis, Rhodes proceeded to study business administration, which would be the subject matter of a MBA degree. It is interesting to note that accounting is one of the subjects that are covered in business administration because running a business needs interested individuals to have a wide range of skills.

5. Used to Be an Accountant

Given his field of study, it makes sense that Rhodes was once an accountant with Ernest and Young. For those who are unfamiliar with that name, Ernest and Young is one of the biggest and most respected professional services firms in the entire world, as shown by the fact that it is counted as one of the Big Four.

6. Went Over to AutoZone in 1994

In 1994, Rhodes went over to AutoZone. By that point in time, he had already risen to a managerial position at Ernest and Young. However, Rhodes proceeded to climb even further at AutoZone, so much so that he was named both President and CEO in March of 2005.

7. Was Once Called One of the Most Underpaid CEOs

There was a time when Business Insider called Rhodes one of the most underpaid CEOs in 2010, which was presumably connected to his performance as well as his compensation of around $3.052 million in 2009. By 2016, Rhodes had become one of the highest-paid CEOs that can be found out there.

8. Director of Dollar General

Currently, Rhodes is one of the directors responsible for representing shareholder interests at Dollar General. In short, said corporation is a chain of variety stores that number around 15,000, which can be found throughout the Lower 48.

9. Director of Retail Industry Leaders Association

Besides this, Rhodes is a director of the Retail Industry Leaders Association as well. As its name indicates, said organization is a trade association that is well-known because of its forums, its advocacy for its members’ interests, and its other measures meant to advance the industry that it represents.

10. Concerned About Consumer Shocks Because of Trump Policies

Rhodes was one of a number of retail CEOs who went in to speak with Trump in February of 2017. Later in late 2018, he is known to have expressed concern about the potential for consumer shocks as a result of Trump’s economic policies, which is perhaps unsurprising when AutoZone is one of the numerous retailers that have been forced to raise their prices because of rising costs. Something that tends to have a very predictable and very negative effect on consumers enthusiasm when it comes to shopping.


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