- Costco has tapped Ron Vachris, a veteran company executive who currently serves as president and chief operating officer, to be its next CEO, the club retailer said Wednesday.
- Vachris will succeed Craig Jelinek, who is retiring as Costco’s chief executive, on Jan. 1.
- Jelinek will stay with Costco in an advisory capacity through next April and continue to hold a seat on the company’s board of directors.
Costco’s decision to boost Vachris to the CEO position follows the company’s announcement in February 2022 that it had named him as president and COO, effectively making him Jelinek’s heir apparent.
The company noted in a press release that Vachris and Jelinek “have worked hand in hand over the last twenty-one months in Ron’s role as president and for many years before that.” The announcement of the leadership change follows discussions Jelinek held with Costco’s board about what it described as a “long-standing succession plan,” according to the announcement.
Vachris has worked for Costco for more than four decades, beginning as a forklift driver and later moving on to a variety of senior executive roles. He served as senior vice president and general manager of the retailer’s Northwest Region from 2010 to 2015 and senior vice president of real estate development from 2015 to 2016.
Vachris became chief operating officer of merchandising in 2016 and assumed his current position as Costco’s No. 2 executive on Feb. 2, 2022, when he also took a seat on the company’s board. He began his career at Price Club, the warehouse retailer Costco purchased in 1993.
Jelinek has served as Costco’s CEO since January 2012, when he replaced Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal in the role. Before becoming CEO, Jelinek held the position of president and chief operating officer, a post he assumed in February 2010, after serving as Costco’s executive vice president of merchandising starting in 2004. He joined Costco in 1984, shortly after its founding.
Prior to joining Costco, Jelinek worked for three years at Lucky Stores, a California grocery chain later acquired by Albertsons as part of that company’s 1998 takeover of American Stores Co., according to a report by Insider.
Costco is preparing to shift to a new CEO following a solid performance in its latest fiscal quarter. The retailer, which runs about 860 locations in the United States and 13 other countries, posted fourth-quarter net sales of $77.4 billion, a 9.4% year-over-year increase.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the role Vachris assumed at Costco in 2016. He was named the company's chief operating officer of merchandising that year.