BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart has named company veteran Doug McMillon to take over as president and chief executive officer after Mike Duke retires at the end of next month.
He has also joined Walmart’s board of directors.
“This leadership change comes at a time of strength and growth at Walmart,” chairman Rob Walton said after the company’s board elected McMillon at the end of November.
“The company has the right strategy to serve the changing customer around the world, and Doug has been actively involved in this process,” Walton said. “The company has a strong management team to execute that strategy.”
At 47, McMillon will be only the company’s fifth CEO since it was founded in 1962. He will also be Walmart’s youngest chief executive since company founder Sam Walton.
McMillon has spent most of his career with Walmart, taking a summer job at one of the company’s distribution centers in 1984 and then rejoining the company in 1990.
Since 2009 he has been president and CEO of Walmart International. Before that, he was president and CEO of Sam’s Club, a job he began in 2006.
Walton said that McMillon’s nearly three decades of experience with Walmart has exposed him to every side of the company’s operation and makes him well qualified to lead the company going forward.
“Doug is uniquely positioned to lead our growing global company and to serve the changing customer while remaining true to our culture and values,” he said. “He has broad experience and a deep understanding of the economic, social and technological trends shaping our world. A merchant at heart, Doug has both a long history with our company and a keen sense of where our customers globally are heading next.”
Walton said he is confident that McMillon will continue the work that Duke has started.
“Mike put in place the building blocks for the next-generation Walmart, and today the company is stronger, more global and more unified across all our stores, mobile and online,” he said. “He also reinvigorated the productivity loop and delivered strong financial performance.
“During his tenure the company made critical investments in talent and technology to expand Walmart to even more customers globally and stepped up its progress on social and environmental issues,” Walton noted. “Mike also has a strong commitment to diversity and has been especially engaged in advancing women throughout the organization. He set a tone at the top to never be satisfied, to always accelerate and do better, while remaining true to the culture that has been core to the company’s success.”
Duke took the helm at Walmart in 2009, succeeding Lee Scott. Before being named CEO, he had served as vice chairman, with responsibility for Walmart International, from 2005 to 2009. Prior to that, he led logistics, distribution and administration after joining the company in 1995.
Analysts say that the appointment of McMillon as Walmart’s top executive, represents a generational shift at the company as its traditional model of big U.S. stores comes under pressure from smaller retailers and a shift to Internet shopping.
However, they say, McMillon’s elevation sends a strong signal that Walmart is unlikely to stray too far from its course as it adjusts to retailing’s new realities.
In a meeting with senior managers in Bentonville three days after he was named as Duke’s successor, McMillon reportedly highlighted his commitment to sticking to the company’s founding principle of focusing on merchandise.
However, those at the meeting told reporters that McMillon also talked about the changing and evolving needs of the customer and what Walmart has to do to ensure that it meets those needs.