Walmart CEO Mike Duke Stepping Down

Walmart Int'l Chief Doug McMillon Succeeds Mike Duke As CEO

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Walmart Stores CEO and President Mike Duke plans to step down Feb. 1. The company says Doug McMillon, head of international operations, will succeed him.

Duke, 63, who had been with Walmart (WMT) since 1995, had been at the helm since February 2009. Duke will stay on as chairman. McMillon, 47, marks the fifth CEO since Walmart's founder Sam Walton, and all of them have been home-grown with years of experience before taking 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 Walmart distribution center in 1984 and then in 1990, he rejoined Walmart at a Tulsa, Okla., store. He then moved up the executive ladder, working in a variety of merchandising jobs at the Walmart 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 Walmart," said Rob Walton, chairman of Walmart'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 that strategy."

World Leaders Speak At The World Economic Forum
Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesWalmart CEO Mike Duke at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last January.
The announcement came just days before the kickoff of the holiday shopping season. It also comes as Walmart 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. Walmart 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 Walmart said Duke's decision to leave Walmart 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.

Duke, became CEO in February 2009. He assumed the top role when the retailer's strong performance made it the rare winner during the Great Recession, but that soon changed a few months after he took the helm.

As the economy slowly recovered, times got tough for Walmart, resulting in a more than two-year slump in its U.S. namesake business. Customers who were hurting financially spent less and others fled to competitors offering better convenience. The company also blamed mistakes in pricing and merchandising. And its move to declutter its stores backfired when shoppers couldn't find their favorite products.

The decision to clean up the stores was not made on Duke's watch, but Walmart's detour away from its everyday low price strategy to temporarily slashing prices on key items was. During Duke's tenure, he named a new U.S. executive team, which reversed the slump in the third quarter of 2011 by restocking thousands of items and pushing low prices across the store.

But those gains have been reversed since early this year. The U.S. Walmart business has posted three straight quarterly declines in a key sales metric, breaking the streak of consecutive quarterly revenue gains. The company has blamed a combination of factors but particularly financial pressures shoppers are facing.

The management transition also comes when Walmart is trying to fight off online rivals like, eBay Inc. and other online retailers, which are luring shoppers to the Web with their vast offerings of products and low prices.

The discounter is also following its own shoppers, who are buying and researching on their smartphones and tablets. Under Duke's stewardship, the company has launched a number of initiatives that have merged its online business with the power of its more than 4,000 stores. That includes launching same-day delivery in five markets and new shopping apps.

Walmart's shares edged up in premarket trading.

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"A vessel to society and culture through the profession of business." - Hal Z Zhao

April 19 2014 at 11:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Heard him speak live. Inspirational!

April 19 2014 at 4:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


November 25 2013 at 10:08 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I don't blame to cut and run, with the bad PR over their billions in profits while paying poverty wages, bribery charges overseas, and other things yet to come out.

I will be shopping less and less in the future at Wally World.

November 25 2013 at 7:38 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

There's one thing the dumbest 1%ers hate more than anything.

The enhancements to productivity that are the font of improvements in the human condition.

That's the sort of staggering stupidity that makes the dumb ones so dumb.

November 25 2013 at 7:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

And how much will his retirement package be worth? $10,20,30 million?

November 25 2013 at 5:42 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pm0501's comment

A lot.

Any clue how much wealth was generated for Walmart shareholders during his tenure?

November 25 2013 at 6:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Let\'s be happy for him.....did you see his retirement package?

November 25 2013 at 4:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to orlandcaro's comment

Just think of the huge multiple of wealth Walmart has created for American citizens who are long-time Walmart shareholders relative to the pay that Walmart CEO's have received over the same period.

Who knows, maybe that even helps explain the CEO compensation.

November 25 2013 at 6:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dweeeb.buster's comment

Right. It explains the compensation package. I wonder if it was his brainchild to set up the hotline to help walmart employees sign up for foodstamps.

November 25 2013 at 8:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

Three straight quarters with poor sales results and low expectations for Christmas sales and the final quarter of the year for Walmart. Plus, a mixed bag of other problems that Walmart is not addressing. Looks a lot like Mikey is leaving a ship which is headed straight for the rocky reef.

Additionally, in our current economy........(face it, folks, we are in a Depression, not a "recession recovery").........this is NOT a favorable environment for any big retail store. Even the high-end retailers, which cater exclusively to affluent customers, are not doing well.

Maybe the incoming new CEO has some rabbits he can pull out of his hat. But, I seriously doubt it.

November 25 2013 at 2:23 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Valerie's comment

Actually,Walmart has done extremely well of late in comparison to other traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers. Take a look at Target, Sears, JC Penney, Best Buy, Kohls, etc.

The retail industry is being disrupted by new technologies that are increasing productivity even beyond that achieved by ultra efficient legacy players like Walmart. And the increased productivity is being passed along to consumers, who are the primary beneficiaries of greater efficiency. Or as Sam Walton famously observed, There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.

November 25 2013 at 2:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And how many millions will he walk away with, while the minimum wage workers don't get to spend Thanksgiving with their families for his bonuses.

November 25 2013 at 1:40 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to junior's comment

Let's ban shopping on Thanksgiving Day and throw in Black Friday for good measure.

November 25 2013 at 4:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to btgreenblatt's comment

I actually miss the days when everything except gas stations were closed on Thanksgiving. It made you plan ahead and not need to fight people at the stores just to get a quart of eggnog and a loaf of bread!

November 25 2013 at 5:44 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down

Why not ban shopping when dumbest 1%ers like yourself prefer to shop?

November 25 2013 at 7:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

LMAO....Walmart haters.

November 25 2013 at 12:49 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply