Michael J. "Mike" Bessire
-BBA in Management - Texas Tech University
-Degree in Food Industry Management - University of Southern California
-Successful 34-year career in Retail Food Industry
Starbucks Coffee Company
As Senior Vice President for Starbucks Central Zone Mike was based out of Dallas, Texas. In two years,Mike's division store count grew from 850 to over 1000 and his employee count from 12,000 to 15,000.Division same store sales were negative 6% upon Mike's arrival in Dallas and were running positive 10% in only 6 months. Mike's Central Zone's double digit sales increase led all operating divisions and continued to lead company sales for the next year and one half. Sales base grew from $850 million to almost $1 billion annually. Profit and ROI results surpassed projections and expectations.
Safeway Food and Drug
Mike's position with Safeway was President of its Eastern Division, based out of Lanham, Maryland, just outside the D.C. beltway. Operating stores in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C., Mike began with 120 underperforming stores that were still under consideration for liquidation. Within 2 years of Mike's arrival, same store sales were leading all 11 operating divisions, and continued to do so for the next 5 years. Within 3 years, Mike's Eastern Division led the company in cost reduction as % of sales, EBIDA growth, ROI on both new stores and remodels, as well as service scores for cleanliness, friendliness and in stock condition. During Mike's tenure at Safeway employee count grew from 10,800 to 15,000. Gross sales grew from just under $2 billion to $3 billion. Store count grew to 175, which included a 30-store chain acquisition. Mike had many proud accomplishments at Safeway but several he is most proud of are:
- While operating in a closed shop Union environment, with 7 different Unions, he was able to increase existing employees' wages with each new contract.Additionally, his operating division was the only Safeway division not to take a strike during his 8 years at Safeway. He still led company in sales increases, cost reduction, and other leading metrics!
- Building, staffing and stocking a new state of the art distribution center and executing a successful transition plan. Safeway's old distribution center was 450,000 combined square feet, in 3 locations, with the most modern building 45 years old. The new DC was over 2 million square feet located on one 100-acre campus.
- Providing a great place for customers to shop and employees to work.
Mike had an additional 23 years combined experience in the Retail Food Industry at Albertsons and HEB Grocery Company in various management and leadership positions.
Three Keys to Success
Mike has developed his personal operating philosophy throughout his life based on his personal work and life experiences! He attributes much of his past successes and current all around happiness to following these tenets:
- Positive Winning Attitude
- Effective Communication
While at USC Mike completed a 2 semester assigned project to develop a personal career and life plan. This plan included his goal to retire at age 50, after achieving the level of President of a major food retail company. He retired (the first time) at age 49, as President of Safeway Eastern Division. Mike recently celebrated his 42nd wedding anniversary with his wife and life partner Jan. They have two married daughters and three amazing grandsons. Mike loves the outdoors, fishing, and hunting. He loves his music. Jan and Mike are planning to travel extensively since his most recent retirement.