BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) has announced that its CEO and president Mike Duke is stepping down effective Feb. 1 and that the company's board has elected Doug McMillon, head of international operations, to succeed him.
Duke, 63, who had been with Wal-Mart since 1995, had been at the helm since February 2009. Duke will stay on as chairman. McMillon, 47, marks the fifth CEO since Wal-Mart's founder Sam Walton and all of them have been home grown with years of experience before taking o ver the helm. McMillon was also elected to the company's board of directors, effective immediately.
McMillon, who succeeded Duke as head
of the international business four years ago, is a 23-year company veteran. He
started as a summer associate in a Wal-Mart distribution center in 1984 and then
in 1990, he rejoined Wal-Mart at a Tulsa, Okla., store. He then moved up the
executive ladder, working in a variety of merchandising jobs at the Wal-Mart
U.S. division. Before he took over international operations, McMillon served as
president and CEO of Sam's Club from 2006 to 2009.
"This leadership change comes at
a time of strength and growth at Wal-Mart," said Rob Walton, chairman of
Wal-Mart's board of directors. "The company has the right strategy to
serve the changing customer around the world, and Doug has been actively
involved in this process. The company has a strong management team to execute
The announcement came just days before
the kickoff of the holiday shopping season. It also comes as Wal-Mart is trying
to boost sales in the U.S. and abroad amid a challenging global economy that's
weighing on its low-income shoppers.
It's also confronting a host of issues
that are hurting its reputation. It's grappling with allegations of bribery in
its Mexico operations that surfaced in April 2012 as well as criticism over its
treatment of its hourly workers. Wal-Mart is also facing pressure to increase
its oversight of factory conditions abroad following a building collapse in
April in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,127 garment workers. The tragedy is
the deadliest incident in the history of the garment industry.
Dave Tovar, a spokesman at Wal-Mart
said Duke's decision to leave Wal-Mart was "a personal one," and he said it had nothing to do
with the bribery allegations.
"He decided it was time to retire," Tovar told The Associated Press. He added that Duke approached Walton and the board voted Friday.