Claudine Adamo is the Executive Vice President and COO of Merchandising at Costco, the American multinational corporation that operates a chain of membership-only big-box retail stores. After opening its first retail outlet in 1983, Costco has grown into the fifth-largest retailer in the world. Currently, Costco has 848 stores worldwide and is ranked #11 on the Fortune 500 list of the largest U.S. corporations by total revenue.
Adamo's rise to the upper ranks at Costco began more than three decades ago. In fact, she has spent her entire career at the Seattle-area company, joining in 1992 after completing her bachelor's in finance marketing at Western Washington University. At the time she applied to Costco because her two older sisters were working in the company's accounting department. Hoping to land a job at headquarters, she was informed that everyone at Costco starts in one of the company's warehouse-like stores. After a year of greeting members and checking receipts, she was promoted to inventory-control specialist, which involved doling out candy to warehouses in the northwest region.
Continuing her upward trajectory, Adamo was promoted to assistant buyer in 1994. Two years later, she became a fully-fledged buyer, moving through departments including business delivery, e-commerce, and consumer electronics. In 2004, as Costco’s general merchandise manager and assistant VP, Adamo relocated to California to open the Los Angeles regional non-foods buying office. In 2013, she returned to Seattle, this time to serve as VP over the company’s home division. She then moved over to consumer electronics, office, and jewelry.
In 2018, Adamo became senior VP over non-foods merchandising. Later, in February 2022, she was promoted to EVP of merchandising, taking the position vacated by Ron Vachris, who is now president of the membership warehouse company.
It has been a long journey, but Adamo sees her time spent within the organization as a testament to its ability to foster talent. "At Costco you really start at the bottom, work your way through every position, learning along the way," Adamo said, explaining the formula of success that has guided her all these years.