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Costco’s Best Weapon


The retail world will lose one of its most colorful and respected CEOs when Costco Wholesale Club co-founder and chief executive Jim Sinegal steps down on January 1, 2012 (see related story). Among retailers, Sinegal stands out for offering proof positive that a business could be good to its employees and customers and still make a hefty profit.

Speaking of his replacement, Costco president and COO Craig Jelinek, Sinegal joked in The Seattle Times: "He is well-liked and smart and energetic and all the things that I used to be." The line was typical Sinegal, an executive so unassuming he often answered his own phone. ("This is Jim Sinegal, and here's the beep.).

For more on Sinegal and his decision to retire, go to

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