Former 7-Eleven CEO Jim Keyes Addresses National Franchisee Convention

National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees logo

ORLANDO, Fla. — Former 7-Eleven Inc. President and CEO Jim Keyes spoke at the 2018 National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees (NCASEF) convention, where he addressed the importance of change in American business and the strength of the franchise model.

"If I could point to one most critical factor in the success of 7-Eleven or in the success of an individual franchisee, it would be the importance of embracing change," Keyes said. "We were obsessed with innovation, using the eyes and ears of thousands of franchisees to find new products, and deploying technologies that met the changing needs of convenience customers."

Keyes spent 21 years with 7-Eleven and served as president and CEO from 2000 to 2005. He retired following the convenience store chain's sale to Japan-based Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd.

"You represent the entrepreneurial spirit that is the backbone of American business and the embodiment of the American Dream," Keyes added during his address to more than 1,300 franchisees.

He also told the story of a 7-Eleven franchisee who is a development agent for Subway as well.

"He came from South Asia as a young man to work in his uncle's 7-Eleven store. He saved his money but took a different path, discovering that Subway provided a similar opportunity," Keyes said. "The same family enjoyed success as entrepreneurs in two different companies with the same successful outcome, achieving the American Dream."

Keyes did not address the current relationship between corporate 7-Eleven and its franchisees, which has seen conflict in recent times. Instead, he focused on the value of the franchise system, extending credit to pioneers such as 7-Eleven founder Joe Thompson, McDonald's Ray Kroc and Subway's Fred DeLuca for their work.

NCASEF is the national trade association for 7-Eleven franchise owners. Founded in 1973, it comprises 44 franchise association members that represent more than 4,600 7-Eleven owners in the United States.

The 2018 National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees convention was held July 23-26 at Orlando's Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center.