11:45 AM

Smart CEOs know how to get things done

Think about the current image of huge corporate CEOs, and images of Ken Lay and Enron seem to come to mind. Fatcats on the golf course smoozing with their cronies, raping their employees pensions while they drag down $15MIL a year to “lead” a broken company that is bleeding red ink.

But recently, ABC’s 20/20 program ran a segment on Jim Sinegal, the CEO of wildly successful Costco Stores. This year, Costco’s sales total more than $52 billion from 462 stores in 37 states and eight countries.

From 20/20: In an era when many CEOs are seen as greedy and sometimes corrupt, Sinegal is proving that good guys can finish first — and without all the corporate frills. Sinegal even sends out his own faxes from his bare-bones office at company headquarters near Seattle. But the most remarkable thing about Sinegal is his salary — $350,000 a year, a fraction of the millions most large corporate CEOs make.
A big part of Sinegal’s success is how he puts a great deal of importance on face time, smoozing not with his cronies at the country club, but instead with the employees at up to 12 Costco stores a day. He does this by utilizing the company jet, and while info on type/model is unavailable, it looked like a Gulfstream or large Falcon. These stops are scheduled by him and the pilot, kept low key, and are golden to Sinegal’s successful efforts to keep Costco employee moral and retention much higher by far than his nearest competitor, Wal*Mart.

This is a guy that “gets it”, and if I were NBAA, I would do anything needed to bring Jim Sinegal on board as a corporate spokesman for promoting the advantages of business aviation. He’s smart, articulate, a really big fan of Bizav, and treats his management and his janitors equally. This is the guy you want out there selling the Fortune 500 on business aviation.

And maybe, just maybe, if we are REALLY lucky, he might run for President…of the United States. What a refreshing change that would be…and no more needs to be said on that.

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