7-Eleven CEO: “We’re going to be disciplined in anything we do”

By Catie George, Director, Communications & Storytelling

The Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) hosted its second Executive Circle event of the year Thursday, May 16, at the 7-Eleven Store Support Center in Irving. Keynote speaker and 7-Eleven CEO Joe DePinto discussed his nearly two-decade career at the helm of the global convenience store market and the company’s tremendous growth. Explore the takeaways below.

Past challenges can lead to future success.

When he first joined the company in 2005, DePinto faced a massive challenge: 7-Eleven was still reeling from a 1990 bankruptcy filing.

DePinto speaking at 7-Eleven’s headquarters.

“We were carrying a ton of debt. So, we said we were going to focus on cleaning up our balance sheet. It was really fortuitous. For four years, through the recession of 2008-09, we used every cent of free cash flow to pay down debt,” DePinto said. “It put us in an incredible position, which has led to this expansion in acquisitions that we did. I like to tell folks leverage is a good thing when used right, but cash is king, and a strong balance sheet in tough times is a great thing to have.”

DePinto specifically highlighted the company’s acquisition of Speedway in 2021. One of the most significant advantages of the sale was positioning 7-Eleven as the largest fuel distributor in the U.S.

The convenience store industry will continue to consolidate, with 7-Eleven as a major player.

“The top ten players in the U.S. only have roughly 20% share,” DePinto said. “I believe consolidation in this industry will continue. We’ll play a part in it. We’re always going to be disciplined in anything we do, and we always make sure that who we acquire comes on and realizes and recognizes they’re part of our family of brands.”

Convenience is evolving.

In 2018, 7-Eleven launched 7NOW, a delivery service created to meet the demands of evolving consumer trends.

“The brand has been synonymous with convenience forever. Our mission now is to provide the customers with the products they want, when, where, and how they want them,” said DePinto. “That’s important, because before it was, ‘we’re going to provide convenience through our physical network.’ Today, it’s providing convenience through delivery.”

The second Executive Circle event of the year, hosted by 7-Eleven.

Success is a team achievement.

DePinto attributed much of the company’s success to having and cultivating exemplary allies in 7-Eleven’s mission.

“We have and have had a tremendous team here at 7-Eleven. So personally, I’ve been blessed in that regard,” he said. “It’s just setting the right tone, providing the right leadership, and a lot of grit, resilience, and can-do attitudes. Our leadership principles are based on a can-do attitude, being courageous with your point of view, challenging the status quo, and doing the right thing, and the team has done that.”

KPMG is the Executive Circle series presenting sponsor. West Monroe was the event sponsor of this Executive Circle meeting, joined by NewsRadio 1080 KRLD as the DRC’s official media partner.

The DRC’s Executive Circle event series brings key decision-makers together with interesting subject-matter experts like Joe DePinto once a quarter. To attend a future Executive Circle event, connect with our membership team.