Soderquist was recruited by Walmart founder Sam Walton from Ben Franklin Stores, where Walton had his retailing start. He joined the retailer in 1980 as executive vice president of administration and logistics and eventually became chief operating officer and vice chairman before retiring in 2000.
Soderquist was one of the executive team members who oversaw Walmart’s meteoric rise between 1988 and 1999, when sales skyrocketed from $1 billion to more than $200 billion. He was a strong advocate of investing in technology at a time when it was not clear whether the investment would pay off.
However, Soderquist is perhaps best remembered as the “keeper of the culture” at Wal-mart after Walton died. “He had a deep passion for integrity, and it was Don who drafted our original core values,” wrote president and chief executive officer Doug McMillon in an email to employees that is posted on the Walmart website.
After retiring from Walmart, Soderquist established the Soderquist Center for Leadership and Ethics to provide values-focused development training.