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7-Eleven CEO Keyes Retires

DALLAS--7-Eleven Inc.'s president and c.e.o Jim Keyes retired from the company, effective today, and also resigned his position as a member of the 7-Eleven board of directors.

During his more than 20 years with 7-Eleven, Keyes held numerous positions, including chief financial officer, chief operating officer and, since 2000, president and chief executive officer. Under his leadership, the $41 billion company produced record sales and profits, including 36 consecutive quarters of same-store sales increases.

Seven-Eleven Japan Co. Ltd and its affiliates have owned a majority stake in 7-Eleven Inc. since 1991. Following the completion of a successful tender offer and a short-form merger on Nov. 9 Seven-Eleven Japan and its affiliates now own 100 percent of 7-Eleven Inc., which operates 5,800 stores in the United States and Canada and licenses approximately 23,200 stores worldwide.

"We are grateful to Jim for his many contributions and years of service to 7-Eleven, and we wish him well in his future endeavors," said Toshifumi Suzuki, chairman and c.e.o. of Seven-Eleven Japan Co. Ltd., who was named acting president and c.e.o. of 7-Eleven Inc. until a successor is found.

As a change agent of 7-Eleven, for the past five years Keyes ushered the company through the beginnings of its transformation for future viability, which included focusing more squarely on consumer needs and demand. For the past 12 quarters, Keyes and the 7-Eleven team met or exceeded earnings estimates promised to Wall Street. In fact, the 7-Eleven stock price during his leadership went form $2 a share in 2000 to a record $37.50 in November.

"I was privileged to lead 7-Eleven Inc. through an important transition over the last five years, and am extremely proud of the accomplishments of employees, franchisees and licensees in creating value for all stakeholders," Keyes said. "With the successful completion of Seven-Eleven Japan's tender offer, the time is right for me to move on to the next phase of my personal and professional life. I am confident in the leadership team that remains in place at the company, as well as the ongoing strategies for 7-Eleven's business."

In an exclusive interview with PG sister publication Convenience Store News two weeks ago, speaking about his induction into the Convenience Store Industry Hall of Fame and his legacy on the brand to date, Keyes revealed: "I hope I will have played a role in the transformation [of 7-Eleven] and that people will look back and say, 'Jim was responsible for getting the company to turn the corner.' I don't know if I will be the one to take it to the next level or if my strength is in the change -- creating the change. That remains to be seen."

Keyes also founded Education is Freedom, a public charity that strives to remove obstacles to college by providing assistance to students who demonstrate academic promise and leadership, but require guidance and financial support to go to college. Keyes has served as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Education is Freedom Foundation since its inception.
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