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Costco's CEO Is Stepping Down After 11 Years – He Has 'Total Confidence' in His Successor Craig Jelinek is stepping down after 40 years with the company. He started as a forklift driver.

By Sam Silverman

Key Takeaways

  • Costco CEO Craig Jelinek is stepping down effective Jan. 1, 2024.
  • He is set to be replaced by Ron Vachris, who is currently president and COO, and has been with the company since 2010.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Costco CEO Craig Jelinek is stepping down as chief executive officer after 11 years in the role and 40 years with the company.

The wholesale store announced that Jelinek "confirmed his intention to step down" in a press release on Wednesday, with the Board of Directors electing the company's current president and chief operating officer, Ron Vachris, as his successor.

Jelinek will officially make his exit on Jan. 1, 2024, and Vachris step into the CEO role the same day.

According to the release, Jelinek will stay on through April to help with Vachris' transition and will continue to serve on the Board of Directors.

Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images | Craig Jelinek, president and chief executive officer of Costco Wholesale Corp., speaks via videoconference during a Senate Budget Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.

RELATED: Costco Isn't Facing Devastating Surges in Theft Like Target and Walmart — and the Reason Is Very Simple

The release also notes that Vachris will continue to serve as president of the company, a position he's held since February 2022, in addition to his new CEO title.

Jelinek's departure comes after serving as CEO since 2012, per Fox Business. He spent 40 years at the company and started as a forklift driver before moving his way up to "every major" role in business and merchandising operations.

Vachris and Jelinek have worked closely together for years and the transition of power is the "culmination of the long-standing succession plan that Craig has discussed with the Board," the press release stated.

"Costco has a very strong culture and a deep bench of management talent," Jelinek said in the press release. "I have total confidence in Ron and feel that we are fortunate as a Company to have an executive of his caliber to succeed me."

RELATED: 'Typically Gone Within a Few Hours': This $1,900 Costco Product Is Flying Off Shelves

Who Is Incoming Costco CEO Ron Vachris and What Is His Salary?

Ron Vachris has worked at Costco since 2010 and held several vice president roles, before becoming company president and chief operating officer in 2022, according to Costco's website.

Vachris reportedly made $7,381,602 million in total compensation as president and COO. In 2022, he received a salary of $993,308, a $247,729 bonus, and was awarded $6,066,880 as stock.

RELATED: Costco Is Now Offering an Additional Exclusive Perk to Members in All 50 States

Soon-to-be former CEO Jelinek reportedly made $9,745,116 million in total compensation as CEO in 2022.

Jelinek reportedly owns 311,958 shares of Costco Wholesale Corp stock, making his net worth valued at $179 million.
Sam Silverman

Content Strategy Editor

Sam Silverman is a content strategy editor at Entrepreneur Media. She specializes in search engine optimization (SEO), and her work can be found in The US Sun, Nicki Swift, In Touch Weekly, Life & Style and Health. She writes for our news team with a focus on investigating scandals. Her coverage and expertise span from business news, entrepreneurship, technology, and true crime, to the latest in entertainment and TV news. Sam is a graduate of Lehigh University and currently resides in NYC. 

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