Thomas C. Shull Director/Chief Executive Officer, Army and Air Force Exchange Service
Tom Shull is Director/CEO of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (Exchange), headquartered in Dallas, Texas. The Exchange is a non-appropriated fund entity of the Department of Defense. Established in 1895, the Exchange is the 61st largest retail organization in the U.S. With annual revenues of $8.6 billion, the Exchange employs approximately 35,000 associates, including military personnel. In 2019, the Exchange produced $369 million in earnings, all reinvested into the military community.
The Exchange operates 4,000 facilities, including department and convenience stores, restaurants, malls, movie theaters, gas stations and other specialty retail businesses on military installations. The Exchange’s operations span 50 states, four U.S. territories and 32 countries. Additionally, the Exchange Credit Program manages a $2.5 billion credit card receivables portfolio. To support combat readiness and provide foreign-based service members and their families with U.S. products, the Exchange operates bakeries in Europe and Asia and water bottling plants in Europe under six licenses from U.S. consumer goods companies, including Wonder Bread, Krispy Kreme and Culligan.
The Exchange annually provides troops with more than 800,000 combat uniforms and serves more than 2.6 million lunches to Warfighters’ children at Department of Defense Education Activity schools overseas. A major employer of Veterans and military spouses, the Exchange has hired more than 1,600 Wounded Warriors since 2010 and is committed to hiring 50,000 Veterans and military spouses by the end of 2020.
Mr. Shull serves on the Exchange Board of Directors and its Executive Committee alongside Lieutenant General Brian Kelly, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, and Lieutenant General Duane Gamble, the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4.
Mr. Shull has drawn upon extensive private-sector retail experience to transform the Exchange into a thriving benefit supporting military readiness and resiliency. Since 2011, the Exchange has nearly doubled its profitability as net earnings as a percent of sales rose from 3.2% to 5.6% in 2019.
Mr. Shull is a 1973 graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree. He received a Master of Business Administration with honors from Harvard Business School in 1981. His military education included Ranger and Airborne schools. His numerous line and staff assignments include assistant professor at the U.S. Military Academy and commander of a mechanized infantry company.
Mr. Shull’s awards and decorations include the Presidential Service Badge, Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Expert Infantryman's Badge, Ranger Tab, Airborne Wings, the Reserve Officer Association’s Minuteman Hall of Fame and the American Logistics Association Distinguished Service award. In 1981, Shull was named to the 17th class of White House Fellows and served in the Office of the Chief of Staff. In his last active-duty assignment, then-Maj. Shull was Military Assistant to Robert C. McFarlane, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.
Before becoming the Exchange’s first civilian Director/CEO, Mr. Shull co-founded Meridian Ventures Inc., where he served as President and CEO from 1991 to 2012. Mr. Shull has successfully turned around four major commercial businesses as a senior manager, including Wise Foods, Hanover Direct, Barneys New York and Macy’s.
Mr. Shull is a former Chairman of the Deafness Research Foundation, the largest private charity funding research in the causes and treatment of hearing loss. He was also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Association of Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy and served as Treasurer for class of 1973 from 2013-2018. Mr. Shull was a member of the Board of Directors of Zale.