Fool.com: 7-Eleven and The Simpsons [Special] February 27, 2004

David and Tom Gardner recently interviewed7-Eleven(NYSE: SE)CEO Jim Keyes onThe Motley Fool Radio Showon NPR. 7-Eleven dominates the convenience-store industry, and counts companies as diverse as Starbucks(Nasdaq: SBUX), Kroger(NYSE: KR), Krispy Kreme(NYSE: KKD), McDonald's(NYSE: MCD), Wal-Mart(NYSE: WMT), and Walgreen(NYSE: WAG) as competitors. This is the fifth of five parts. All previous parts are linked right over there. --->

TMF: Jim, how old are you, and are you planning on sticking around in your present job for a few years?

Keyes: I am 48 years old; it is hard to say that, isn't it? I still feel like I am 20, but I am admittedly 48 years old.

TMF: You sound like you're 20, how about that?

Keyes: Well, thanks. (Laughs.)

TMF: We all sound great and young on radio.

Keyes: Exactly. I am having the time of my life. I have described 7-Eleven as the most interesting challenge, most interesting opportunity in all of retail not only because of having the power of this tremendous brand name that is known all over the world, but the opportunity to recreate retail from scratch. It has been very, very challenging and tremendously gratifying.

I look at other industries and find that 7-Eleven and its unique opportunity is one of the most challenging opportunities in all of business today. So I am having a terrific time.

TMF: Someone else that we hope sticks around for a few years would be your chief financial officer, Edward Moneypenny. The reasons that we hope Edward may hang around are probably obvious; we love his last name. Jim, would you assess Mr. Moneypenny's performance, and in your answer please refer to him by his last name only and use that last name as often as possible. Thank you.

Keyes:(Laughing.) Well, Mr. Moneypenny was actually a peer of mine as a CFO for a competing company, which is where I first encountered him. We were both CFOs and I had an appreciation for his expertise and abilities as a peer.

TMF: Right, and who is this we are talking about, Jim?

Keyes: Mr. Moneypenny. (Laughs.)

TMF: Oh yeah, right. Keep going, keep going.

Keyes: Yeah, Ed Moneypenny seriously is a terrific, consummate professional. As a CFO, he has a tremendous depth and breadth of experience so when it came time for 7-Eleven to find expertise in the role of a CFO, we turned to someone with that kind of depth and breadth so that he could balance the needs that we had in terms of capital structure and in terms of the need, frankly, for credibility and a continued focus on improving both capital structure and operating results. Ed has brought that to the table and he has done a terrific job.

TMF: And who was that again, just to close?

Keyes: Ed Moneypenny.

TMF: Let's close with our game Buy, Sell, or Hold. We will be throwing out things happening in business and the world at large and ask you Jim, if these were stocks, would you be buying, selling, or holding, and a sentence or two about why. Are you ready?

Keyes: Sure.

TMF: OK, let's start it out with mixing Slurpee flavors. Buy, sell, or hold?

Keyes: That is a huge buy. (Laughs.)

TMF: What is your favorite combo?

Keyes: I am now drinking these, our newest offering, which is Diet Pepsi Slurpee, so I am mixing Diet Pepsi with Crystal Light. A little odd combination, but it tastes great and it's low calorie.

TMF:The Simpsons seem to have taken notice of your business. Buy, sell, or hold the 7-Eleven-type store in The Simpsons, the Quickie Mart?

Keyes: You know, Apu, the proprietor, has great customer service. If I had Apu in every 7-Eleven store, I think we would be constantly keeping a smile on our customer's face.

TMF: So a buy, and a strong buy on Apu?

Keyes: A strong buy on Apu. He's a friend.

TMF: To close, you told us a couple of years ago that this was your dumbest business decision. Buy, sell, or hold the likelihood that we might see a new and improved line of 7-Eleven fishnet pantyhose?

Keyes: Not in my lifetime. (Laughs.)

TMF: Jim Keyes is the CEO of 7-Eleven. Jim, thanks for joining us on The Motley Fool Radio Show.

David and Tom Gardner team up to bring you great stock ideas each month.


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