James W. Keyes
James W. Keyes

Global leader, Chief Executive Officer of 7-Eleven and Blockbuster


James W. Keyes is a business and social change agent. As 7-Eleven's Global President and CEO (from 2000 to 2005), he headed more than 40,000 company-operated, franchised and licensed stores in 19 countries around the world, opened new markets and led the launch of 7-Eleven stores in China.

Under his leadership, Keyes drove initiatives that resulted in nearly 40 quarters of same-store sales improvement. Among his many innovations were the introduction of fresh foods, building a nationwide network of commissaries and daily distribution systems to deliver fresh products to every 7-Eleven store every day, increasing fresh food sales to over 20% of the product mix. During his tenure as CEO, the company achieved a tenfold increase in shareholder value.

Keyes is involved in a number of new technology initiatives, including the Hyperspace startup in partnership with Lockheed Martin, which is developing defensive missiles using carbon technology, as well as cutting-edge AI and AR projects. He currently serves as a senior advisor to Back to Space, which promotes STEM education and enrichment, and as an advisor to Xenesis, a company that produces nearly indestructible optical hardware for use in satellites.

Keyes is a board member of Rithem, which is developing pocket-sized defibrillators, and a founder and board member of the non-profit Education is Freedom Foundation, a nationally recognised college, career and life readiness provider.


  • In 2005 the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans recognized Keyes with its Horatio Alger Award.

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James Keys has years of hard work as an executive in major companies and knows exactly what is really important for knowledgeable leadership today. He will explain what is most important for an entrepreneur and share the lessons of leadership from his own experience.

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