The Kotler Effect

With more than 600 stores now under its watch, GPM Investments lets the industry know it’s here to stay.

Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News

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Chemistry, Loyalty and Trust

These are the three attributes CEO Arie Kotler and COO Chris Giacobone cite when describing their ideal employees—and each other.

“Trust is important,” Giacobone says. “It’s no silos. We don’t like to see people that care strictly about their departments and not the overall company culture.”

That led to one of the major changes enacted at GPM Investments when Kotler bought control of the company in 2011.

“Before this role that I’m in, operations and marketing were separate,” Giacobone says. “It’s in operations’ nature to control everything: We don’t want to lose any money; we don’t want too many shortages. Marketing wants to sell, sell, sell, so they come up with programs, and then operations wants to put it behind the counter because they don’t want people to steal it. There was a lot of protecting your turf, and we’re a sales company. That’s what we do. There’s got to be a certain level of risk.”

“Loyalty and trust are the top things,” Kotler says. “I don’t have a problem losing a person because he made a decision to live [his life the way he wants]. I have a problem when people are actually lying to you. I think trust is No. 1, and you need to earn trust.”

As for moving Giacobone into the No. 2 spot in the company, Kotler says, “Chris is a detail guy. So am I. … We have disagreements; however, Chris is one of the guys—I’ve got two or three guys here—Chris is the No. 1 guy that when I need something to be done, I know it will get done. There’s no drama with Chris. We’ve got chemistry.”


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