10 Things You Didn’t Know about Dollar Tree CEO Gary Philbin

Dollar Tree

Gary Philbin is the current head of Dollar Tree Stores as both its President and its CEO, having received those positions in September of 2017. As such, he is presiding over the retail business at a time of huge expansion, which has become very well-known because so many other retail businesses are seeing much worse results. On the whole, Philbin possesses considerable expertise and experience both from his time at Dollar Tree and from before. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Gary Philbin:

1. Gary Can Be Both Celtic or Germanic in Origin

Gary is a name that can come from a number of sources. For example, some cases are believed to have come from Gareth, which is the name of an Arthurian knight that sees a fair amount of use in Wales. In contrast, other cases are believed to have come from Germanic names containing the element gar, which translates to “spear.”

2. Philbin Is a Patronymic

Philbin is believed to be a patronymic Irish surname that means “family of Philip.” Supposedly, the clan that bore the surname was a Hibernicized branch of the Burke family, which in turn, was the Irish branch of an Anglo-Norman family called de Burgh.

3. Runs Dollar Stores

For those who are unfamiliar with the name, Dollar Tree consists of dollar stores, meaning retailers that sell a wide range of items for $1 or less. In fact, the corporation’s name used to be even more descriptive of the nature of its business, seeing as how it was Only $1.00.

4. Runs Dollar Stores During a Good Time

Speaking of which, Philbin is running Dollar Tree at a good time for dollar stores. For proof, look no further than the fact that it planned to open around 650 stores in 2018, which was particularly noticeable because this huge expansion is happening at the same time that other brick and mortar retailers are taking serious blows to their profitability.

5. Not Being Pressured by Amazon

In part, Dollar Tree’s performance under Philbin can be explained by the fact that it isn’t subject to competition from Amazon. Simply put, Amazon and other online retailers can’t compete with dollar stores on their level because they have shipping costs, meaning that it doesn’t make economic sense for them to compete on anything that costs $10 or less.

6. “Treasure Hunt” Experience

Having said this, there are other reasons for Dollar Tree’s success as well. For example, some sources have cited what is being called a “treasure hunt” experience for people who choose to shop at Dollar Tree stores, which transforms their shopping from a chore to something much more exciting. Combined with other factors, this makes Dollar Tree that much more competitive.

7. Has Retail Grocery Experience

Before he became a part of Dollar Tree, Philbin had considerable experience in the retail grocery sector. Even then, he held senior leadership positions, which were in operations as well as merchandising.

8. Was COO

When Philbin joined up with Dollar Tree in 2001, he was a Senior Vice President. By 2007, he had risen to the position of the COO, which stands for the Chief Operating Officer. Generally speaking, Chief Operating Officer is a very high-ranking position in the corporate hierarchy because it is responsible for overseeing the corporation’s operations as a whole, meaning that it is either just below the CEO or not much further down the chart.

9. Led Family Dollar

Currently, Dollar Tree is the single biggest chain of dollar stores in the United States. Said corporation has reached its current status through a number of means, as shown by how it bought out Family Dollar in 2015. When that happened, Philbin was the one chosen to serve as Family Dollar’s President as well as its COO.

10. Joined Board of Directors

When Philbin became the CEO of Dollar Tree, he became a member of the corporation’s Board of Directors as well. Under normal circumstances, the Board of Directors is meant to serve as representatives of the shareholders, meaning that they are the ones who choose the executives. However, executives can exercise a fair amount of influence over the Board of Directors, so much so that it isn’t uncommon for them to effectively choose the directors by influencing shareholders to vote in their recommendations.


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