Jim Keyes, who guided 7-Eleven through some of its most profitable era, today was named chairman and CEO of Blockbuster Inc. Ironically; he replaces John Antioco, another convenience story industry veteran, who served more than a decade with Tosco Corp.
Under Keyes’ leadership as president and CEO of 7-Eleven from 2000 to 2005, the company experienced record sales and profits and implemented new retail systems technology that improved product assortment decisions in every store. He also ushered in a new era for 7-Eleven through the introduction of a host of new electronic services, which helped the convenience-store chain become as well known for its cutting-edge use of technology as for Slurpees.
Additionally, he collaborated with manufacturers across all merchandise categories to develop new products, enabling the company to introduce as many as 50 new items each week in advance of the competition. When Keyes retired upon the sale of the company in 2005, 7-Eleven had produced 36 consecutive quarters of same-store sales increases and had some 6,000 franchised and company-owned stores in the U.S. and Canada with 30,000 stores worldwide.
“Blockbuster has a world-class brand and is a highly regarded leader in the home entertainment industry,” said Keyes, who spent a total of 21 years with 7-Eleven. “I look forward to the opportunity to work with the Blockbuster team to better serve our customers and to position Blockbuster for profitable growth and an even stronger future.”
“Jim is results-oriented, strategic and able to identify practical, yet highly creative solutions to complicated business problems. Most importantly, he has a strong multi-unit retailing background and an impressive record of introducing new customer-focused technologies into a business that have driven financial results,” said Carl Icahn, a member of the Blockbuster Board of Directors. “With his extensive background in finance, operations and marketing, and as a former CEO of a Fortune 500 company, he is exactly the right person to become the next leader of Blockbuster. The rest of the board and I are extremely pleased to welcome Jim to the company.”