Costco Wholesale Corp. Chairman of the Board Jeff Brotman died in his sleep on August 1. Brotman co-founded the chain with former CEO Jim Sinegal in 1983. Costco currently operates 736 warehouse stores in 11 countries and is the world’s third largest retailer as measured by sales. Brotman had served as chairman of the company since 1994.
The cause of death has not been announced. According to the Seattle Times, on Monday, July 31, Brotman attended a dinner for approximately 2,000 Costco managers from around the world who are gathered in Seattle, near the company headquarters in Issaquah, Wash.
Sinegal and Brotman’s complementary business skills helped the company grow into the global powerhouse it has become, with Sinegal overseeing operations and finances while Brotman handled the real estate end. Sinegal said Brotman “became an expert” at choosing where new Costco warehouses should be located, according to the Seattle Times report.