Our Executives

Sharon Anderson Wright

Sharon Anderson Wright
President and Chief Executive Officer

Since 1972, Sharon Anderson Wright has gone from the first employee of Half Price Books Records Magazines® to its President/CEO. She has helped the company expand from a single 1,000 square foot converted laundromat into the nation's largest family-owned new and used bookstore chain. More than 2,500 employees currently generate annual revenues exceeding $210 million.

Sharon began working for Half Price Books at the age of 13, sorting and shelving paperbacks. In 1976, she opened and managed a store in Richardson, Texas, and in 1986, became manager of the company's flagship store. Within three years she was promoted to District Manager of the five Dallas stores. Sharon was appointed General Manager and Executive Vice President over corporate operations the following year. She took the reins as Half Price Books President in 1996 after her mother, Half Price Books Cofounder Pat Anderson, passed away.

Adhering to the company philosophy that her mother maintained is a major objective for Wright. She continues to expand Half Price Books, opening approximately eight new bookstores per year, but is committed to keeping the company an eco-friendly, fun place to work.

Sharon also is personally committed to the company's mission of preserving the environment by reusing and recycling. She is an avid reader and an advocate of reading and literacy. She is married and the mother of two children.

Half Price Books was founded on July 27, 1972, in Dallas, Texas, by Ken Gjemre and Sharon's mother, Pat Anderson. Today, it remains a family-owned and operated business with both retail and wholesale divisions.

Ellen O'Neal

Ellen O’Neal
Executive Vice President/Chairperson of the Board

Ellen O'Neal joined Half Price Books the year it was founded in 1972, working alongside her mother and company co-founder Pat Anderson. Currently, Ellen serves as the Chairperson of the Board, a pivotal role in the direction and success of the company.

Prior to becoming Chairperson of the Board, Ellen was the District Manager in San Antonio. Over the years, she helped successfully launch Half Price Books stores in two new markets -- first in Austin while attending the University of Texas, and then in San Antonio in 1979. She and her late-husband Tom raised two children and many animals in San Antonio, including sheep, dogs, cats, rabbits and turtles. Ellen's love of reading and encouragement of others to read has led to countless donations of books and other items to organizations in San Antonio and around the world.

Kathy Doyle Thomas

Kathy Doyle Thomas
Executive Vice President, Marketing/Development

Kathy Doyle Thomas, executive vice president, joined Half Price Books in July 1989. Her responsibilities include developing national marketing efforts for the wholesale and retail divisions of the company, as well as managing store expansion criteria and site selection. She also heads the company's three Web site divisions. Thomas is on the corporate advisory board of Literacy USA and serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association.

Prior to working at Half Price Books, Thomas spent seven years in public broadcasting with KERA Channel 13, KERA 90.1 and KDTN Channel 2. Her responsibilities with those stations included media supervisor and "DIAL" magazine editor.

Thomas' professional achievements have been honored with Women in Communications' Matrix and Clarion awards, National Public Radio and Public Broadcasting system advertising awards, the Dallas Advertising League's TOPS awards, and the Dallas Press Club's Katie award. Ten years ago, she helped found Literacy USA and was the first member of the corporate advisory board. Thomas also has been recognized by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, has been named outstanding member of the Dallas Advertising League, and was named one of the top women in cross-channel retail by Retail Online Integration.

Her efforts on behalf of literacy organizations and her marketing expertise have lead to speaking engagements in communities across the country, including Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, Texas; Washington, D.C.; Columbus, Ohio; New Orleans, Louisiana; Boston Massachusetts; New York, New York; Los Angeles, California; and Indianapolis, Indiana.

Thomas has been very active with the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association for several years, earning her position as Chairman of the Board of Directors. She is currently on a panel of business leaders working with the Department of Education on improving adult education in the United States. Thomas also serves on the Community Partnerships for Adult Learning (C-PAL) business advisory group.

Thomas earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Texas Christian University and a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of North Texas. She is married and the mother of three children. Thomas has also been involved in her children's school as room mother and launching literacy initiatives.

Jan Cornelius

Jan Cornelius
Executive Vice President/Operations Manager

Jan joined Half Price Books in 1980, managing the main store in Dallas from 1982 -1986, and was named Operations Manager for the chain in 1987. In his current position, Jan oversees operational support services including merchandising, construction, planning/installation, inventory controls, accruals, corporate purchasing and data control (MIS). Before coming to Half Price Books, Jan attended five different colleges, worked for the Dallas Parks Department, the Dallas Public Library, and built church pews at a furniture factory in northern California. Jan's hobbies include guitar-playing, fixing things, self-deprecating humor, and writing autobiographical profiles.