Inside the career of Home Depot CEO Craig Menear, who spent nearly 20 years working his way up the ladder

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty ImagesHe demonstrated an entrepreneurial edge from an early age.
  • Home Depot CEO Craig Menear has worked at the retailer since 1997.
  • Before that, he worked at Montgomery Ward and IKEA.
  • The Home Depot CEO was selected for the top spot over current Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison, who was also a top Home Depot executive at the time.

Craig Menear has been climbing the ladder at Home Depot for years – and not one of the orange metal ones that employees use to grab products off high shelves.

He’s worked at the company since 1997, steadily rising through different leadership roles before becoming CEO in 2014.

Read more: A financial analyst breaks down the biggest differences between Home Depot and Lowe’s – and explains which retailer has the edge

In 2018, USA Today reported that Menear made $US11.6 million in total compensation for his role as Home Depot’s chief executive. But how did he come to run the company in the first place?

Here’s a look into Menear’s life and career:

Menear was born and raised in Flint, Michigan, where his father worked at General Motors.

Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

Menear told the Atlanta Business Chronicle that he still considers Michigan home. Michigan is where Menear met his wife, Dawn.

Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

“We went to school together in grade school,” he said. “She lived five houses down the street from me when we were 10 years old. We started going out in junior high.”

Linda Parton/Shutterstock

Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

Menear said that Dawn has been a major source of support throughout his life: “I couldn’t do this without her.”

Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

The Menears would go on to have two daughters together, and they later moved to Atlanta to be close to Home Depot’s headquarters.

Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

He revealed to the Atlanta Business Chronicle that he’s been interested in home improvement since childhood.

Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

He said that he and his dad “often worked together on home improvement projects.”

NA image/Shutterstock

Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

Menear also demonstrated an entrepreneurial edge from an early age.

Julia Zavalishina/Shutterstock

Source: Michigan State University

He told his alma mater Michigan State University that he bought his first car with profits from his childhood lawn care business.


Source: Michigan State University

Menear went on to attend Michigan State University. He graduated from the university’s business school in 1979.

Source: Michigan State University

After college, Menear landed his first post-grad role at Montgomery Ward, a department-store chain that went under in 2001.

Source: Michigan State University

Menear also went to work for IKEA and Builders Emporium. He finally moved on to Home Depot in 1997 and began rising through the ranks of the company.

Source: San Diego Tribune, USA Today, Forbes

In 2007, Menear was promoted to executive VP of merchandising. But the executive’s ascent in the company didn’t stop there.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Source: Michigan Live

In November 2014, Menear was named CEO. He was selected over fellow frontrunners Marvin Ellison — who is now CEO of Lowe’s — and current Home Depot CFO Carol Tomé.

Source: Home Depot, Fortune, Home Depot

The newly appointed CEO then became chairman in February 2015.

Getty Images

Source: Home Depot

Menear has donated to the Home Depot Political Action Committee over the years. In 2018, the committee donated $US1,320,320 to Republican federal candidates and $US742,680 to Democratic candidates, according to the Center for Open Politics.

Source: Federal Election Committee,CNBC, The Center for Responsive Politics

Menear also supported Republican Sen. Rick Scott and Rep. Karen Handel, as well as Democrats Sen. Martin Heinrich and Rep. John Lewis.

Source: Federal Election Committee,CNBC, The Center for Responsive Politics

Today, when he’s not running Home Depot, Menear keeps busy with causes like the Atlanta Committee for Progress …

Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle

… and the Salvation Army, which Menear and his wife both support.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In 2015, Menear attributed his success in business to various mentors he’s had over the years, telling MSU: “And I was incredibly fortunate to be able to work for some great people during my career who helped me progress.”

Source: Michigan State University

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