John V. Shields

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John V. Shields, Jr.
Born(1932-03-23)March 23, 1932
Illinois, U.S.
DiedOctober 31, 2014(2014-10-31) (aged 82)
OccupationCEO of Trader Joe's

John V. Shields, Jr. (March 23, 1932 – October 31, 2014) was an American businessman who was the CEO of the American grocery store chain Trader Joe's from 1988 to 2001.[1] Shields was voted the Master Entrepreneur of the Los Angeles Area in 1993.

Early life[edit]

Shields was born on March 23, 1932, in Illinois.He attended Serra High School in San Mateo, California and graduated in 1950. In 1954, he earned a BA degree in European[clarification needed] from Stanford University, followed in 1956 by an MBA from the same place. He was a member of Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity at Stanford.[2]

Shields also served in the military for two years.[2]


Shields joined Macy's California, a department store chain, in their executive training program, rising to the position of Vice President of Operations.[citation needed]

In 1979 Shields left Macy's to join Mervyn's Department Stores to help in their national expansion program. In the nine years he was with them, Mervyn's expanded from 36 to 175 stores.[citation needed]

His retirement from Mervyn's in 1987 lasted for five weeks. John was approached by an old friend from Stanford days who had founded the Trader Joe's grocery stores, Joe Coulombe. What was started out a consulting assignment led to Shields becoming CEO of Trader Joe's a year later, when Coulombe decided to retire. During Shield's tenure TJ's grew from 27 stores to 174 stores, and from $132 million to $2 billion in sales. He retired from TJ's in 2001.[1]


Shields had two sons and two daughters.[3] He lived in Thousand Oaks, California and died on October 31, 2014, aged 82.[3][4]


  1. ^ a b GBR Conversation With John Shields Graziadio Business Report, Spring 2002
  2. ^ a b "John V. Shields Jr. dies; Trader Joe's CEO made grocery chain a powerhouse". LA Times. November 6, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "John V. Shields Jr Obituary". Retrieved May 21, 2017.
  4. ^ "John V. Shields Jr., Who Turned Trader Joe's Into National Chain, Dies at 82". November 9, 2014. Retrieved May 21, 2017.
Business positions
Preceded by
Joe Coulombe
CEO of Trader Joe's
1987 – 2001
Succeeded by
Dan Bane