Craig Jelinek, the long-time chief executive officer (CEO) of Costco Wholesale (COST), is leaving the company at the start of 2024.
Jelinek, age 71, will be succeeded in the top job by current Chief Operating Officer (COO) Ron Vachris, another company veteran, as part of what the company says is a longstanding succession plan.
Vachris, age 58, will become only the third CEO in Costco’s 40-year history. He will assume the CEO role on Jan. 1, 2024. Jelinek will remain with Costco until April of next year to assist Vachris through a transition period.
Vachris began his career with Costco as a forklift driver in the mid-1980s and has served in every major role related to the company’s operations.
Jelinek started at Costco as a warehouse manager in 1984 and steadily rose through the ranks. Costco co-founder James Sinegal was the company’s first CEO and preceded Jelinek.
Every member of Costco’s executive management team has been with the company for more than 20 years, said the company.
Costco’s stock has risen 22% over the last 12 months and trades at $574.64 U.S. per share.