Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Hero for the Rest of Us

The Times has a great article about Costco and its CEO, Jim Sinegal. Not only does Sinegal look out for the rest of us in his role as "price police," but he also pays his workers more on the average than any other price club.... 42% more with an average employee earning $17 an hour, 85% of employees have health insurance, and the company contributes generously to employee 401(k) plans. Oh, and did I mention that they don't shut out unions? Even the Teamsters love Costco - "'They gave us the best agreement of any retailer in the country,' said Rome Aloise, the union's chief negotiator with Costco."

On top of all this, Sinegal's yearly income is $350,000, putting him in the bottom 10% of CEOs (he did get a $200K bonus). Of course, he's still filthy rich - worth $150 million in stock options, so it's not like he has to take a shot in the pills to be good to his employees and customers. The end result is that Costco has soaring stock prices, low employee turnover and low employee theft. Oh, and ridiculously cheap prices on everything you could possibly want.... everything legal, that is.

Three cheers for Sinegal, who proves that a CEO doesn't have to be a greedy cheat in order to be hugely successful. This article just convinced me to re-up my Costco membership (seriously, the store does rule).

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