Walmart U.S. CEO Bill Simon Steps Down

Walmart Shareholders Meeting
Gareth Patterson/APWalmart Stores U.S. CEO Bill Simon
NEW YORK -- Walmart is replacing the chief of its U.S. discount stores in what could be an indication that it's losing confidence that its largest business unit will rebound after more than a year of disappointing results.

Greg Foran, 53, who was promoted to president and CEO of Walmart Asia earlier this year, will succeed Bill Simon, who had been CEO of Walmart's U.S. stores for four years, effective Aug. 9.

The move, which was announced Thursday, marks the company's biggest management shake-up since Doug McMillon took over as CEO of Walmart Stores (WMT) in February. Foran will report directly to McMillon.

Simon's departure isn't surprising. He has been considered a top candidate for the critical job at the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer. But some analysts think the timing of Simon's resignation was odd. Walmart, which reports second-quarter earnings results next month, is heading into the two biggest shopping periods of the year: the back-to-school and winter holiday seasons.

"A decision to replace a high-ranking leader of a major retailer before back-to-school and before holidays speaks volumes," said Brian Sozzi, CEO of Belus Capital Advisors. "McMillon is starting to clean house and pick executives who will move quicker."

Walmart declined to make either Simon or Foran available for interviews on Thursday after the announcement. But Walmart spokesman Dave Tovar told The Associated Press that Simon's resignation was mutual. He said that Simon and McMillon have been having ongoing discussions about Simon's departure. On July 18, Simon officially agreed to retire.

In response to the timing of the resignation, Tovar said merchandise for the back-to-school and the holiday seasons have already been ordered. "This will give an opportunity for Greg to look at the plan and see if there are any other suggestions for making it better," said Tovar, who added that Foran will be taking over the U.S. discount business at a time when the company evaluates its future budget and strategy planning, a three-month period that ends in September.

The change in leadership of Walmart's U.S. stores comes after the division has suffered five straight quarters of sales declines at stores that have been open at least a year. The unit, which accounts for 60 percent of the retailer's overall sales, has been hurt by a tough economy that has squeezed its low-income customers, along with fierce competition from dollar stores and

The move to name Foran indicates that Walmart is looking to for a different strategy.

Foran, a 35-year retail industry veteran, joined Walmart in 2011 and became president and CEO of Walmart China in 2012 until he was promoted to president and CEO of Walmart Asia this year. Before joining Walmart, Foran held a number of roles with Woolworths, the leading retailer in Australia and New Zealand.

"Greg is one of the most talented retailers I've ever met," McMillon said in a statement.

Foran follows Simon, who joined Walmart in 2006 as senior vice president of professional Services. He was promoted to chief operating officer for Walmart's U.S. division from 2007 to 2010. During that time, he created and launched Walmart's successful $4 prescription drug program.

When Simon took on the role of CEO of Walmart's U.S. division in 2010, he led a turnaround of the unit by correcting mistakes it made in pricing and merchandise.

He focused on the company's roots of offering everyday low prices. He also helped restore thousands of popular items that the company had stopped selling in an overzealous attempt to de-clutter the stores. That helped Walmart get out of a two-year sales slump in late 2011.

Simon also has been leading the company's campaign to revitalize U.S. manufacturing and helped to spearhead the company's move to accelerate its plans for small-store formats.

Walmart said that Simon will be available for the company on a consulting basis for the next six months. According to the terms of his retirement pact, he can't work for a business that competes with Walmart for two years. Foran's successor will be announced at a later date.

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The population of the US is over 300 million.
The non institutional civilian population age 16 and over is 247+ million
Employed 146.2 million employed
Unemployed 9.5 million
Not in the labor force 92.1 million

No CEO is going to satisfy their stores lack of consumer sales until this nation gets out of the low 62.8 % participation and starts creating good jobs for the people.

July 27 2014 at 12:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Stores depend on higher income workers. Today you have lower wage shoppers shopping at each others stores. The higher income blue collar workers have been cut in more half because of loss of manufacturing jobs , loss of suppliers, and other lost jobs.

The retailers are fighting for a share of the consumer dollar but that share has declined has wages and hours have dropped as more people are sent to the( not in the labor force )due to the lack of jobs.

July 27 2014 at 12:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maybe they should actually have some human beings at the 20 checkstand lanes instead of forcing people to use the self checkout lanes. My local Wallmart only has 3-4 people running checkstands and forces everyone else to use self checkout. Why you ask? Simple to not have to pay an employee, stop the extreme coupon and price matchers, and make me do all the work. At least offer me a discount if you want me to check out my own goods. Walmart...We save money so our excutives live better! New slogan

July 27 2014 at 8:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to herold1227's comment

Self checkout is the greatest thing ever--you have to know how to work it of course.

July 27 2014 at 7:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Libtards keep hoping that Wal Mart will go out of business.

July 27 2014 at 12:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mary Ann

Our wal mart use to be good. Now its dirty the workers just stand around and talk then if they see a customer they ack like they are clean up the shelves.I try not to go at night because it so dirty and looks like a hurrican went though it becasue people just throw stuff on the floor . I noticed one family pulling back the skin of corn and just letting it fall on the floor and they just laughed and spoke spanish. They should start firing these workers but the NAACP yells racist same with latinos. I see the manager correct more whites then others and a black manager was yelling and calling this guys lazy person and the guy was approx in his 50`s white. So there is racist at walm marts going on to. I decided long time ago I am not shopping walmart again UNLESS its a I have too. and these workers like fasy food because of the unions want 15.00 hrly RIGHT

July 26 2014 at 4:34 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mary Ann's comment

I know exactly what your talking about. You need to get it on your Digital Device because the racist security will only record the parts that they can use against the associate. What happens when the security is racist and lets the managers break the OSHA laws and blame the associate?

July 27 2014 at 11:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Could be 8,000 casino workers looking for jobs at the chain since only one casino in MD offered to hire some of the workers as they had done. Only 50 were hired the last time a NJ casino closed an we have one mess now.

It's going to get ugly in NJ. Money is walking to avoid the bloated gov's taxes here and few of the declining middle class can afford to stay because the economy lost all it's good jobs.

July 26 2014 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Iselin007's comment

I meant government's bloated taxes not the governor's taxes. Sorry if you were offended.

July 27 2014 at 12:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Stop shopping at Walmart. Maybe then the company will stop putting dept mgrs in more depts. Putting them in 2,3 some times even 4 places with no other people to cover it is bs. When Sam was alive it was running good. Now all of the market team members want is more and more with nothing to offer.Parksburg PA walmart is in piss poor shape. All of the Asst Mgrs/Co-Mgrs are losers. They never help people that need help and just sit in the back room stuffing their faces and do nothing but bark on the phone or motorola.
How many times have you walked into a walmart and had to wait 20 mins or more just to get someone to talk too about a issue??

July 26 2014 at 9:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mr12ga's comment

It's shocking when the cold weather comes and the managers are assemble. in the freezing temperatures to work on the container/trailers the flatbed trucks dump in the parking lot each holiday season. You think the stores are large but they need the outside parking lot for several of these trailers to store merchandise for specials or customers orders. There are also trailers fenced in the Garden Centers and even more freight on pallets that have to be covered with tarps. Some chains don't have completely enclosed Garden Centers with a full roof.

July 26 2014 at 11:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The only time I come across the Walmart name is when somebody forwards me pics of humongous (Walmart) shoppers displaying their bare boobs and butt cracks. Lately I've been deleting the forwards before checking them out. Blech.

July 25 2014 at 1:06 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

The total population of the Non Institutional Civilian Labor age 16 and over is the population of people who can work not the total population of the United States! As the population of working age people soars the employed numbers must keep up or the or your going to get what Walmart sees a consumer still hurting from an over over rated recovery.

Your going to see a lot of companies doing shake ups because they can't sqeeze profits out of old job numbers that no longer equate with the total amount of people that need jobs.

July 25 2014 at 12:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sure as technology, Tax inversions, and outright outsourcing continues to cut US jobs and hours the consumers won't be effected> What a bunch of malarkey, The US population of people age 16 and over has been piling up since the last peak employment period several years ago.

If anyone thinks there is not an excess of people needings jobs in the US, then you haven't reading the BLS employment reports in pdf.

July 25 2014 at 12:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply