Bentonville, Ark. — Walmart Stores president/CEO Mike Duke will be succeeded in February by international division chief Doug McMillon.
Duke, 63, has held the discounter’s top post since 2009. During his tenure he managed to squeeze steady sales and income from a recessionary environment, although the company’s stock price remained stagnant. He had previously led the discounter’s U.S., international, logistics and distribution operations.
McMillion, once a part-time worker in a Walmart distribution center, would eventually run Sam’s Club and, beginning in 2009, the international unit, which encompasses more than 300 stores and 823,000 employees in 26 countries.
In a statement, Walmart chairman Rob Walton said,
“Doug is uniquely positioned to lead our growing global company and to serve the changing customer,” citing his broad management experience within all of the company’s business segments, “and a deep understanding of the economic, social and technological trends shaping our world.”
In a research note, Janney Montgomery Scott analyst David Strasser said the move is not surprising given Duke’s nearly five years in the job and speculation about how much longer he would remain. He believes the choice of successor came down to McMillon and Walmart U.S. head Bill Simon, and speculated whether Simon will remain with the company after being passed over for the top slot.
McMillon was elected to Walmart’s board effective immediately, and will formally succeed Duke on Feb. 1.
Duke will continue serving as the chairman of the executive committee of the board and, in the tradition of his predecessors, will stay on as an advisor to McMillon for one year, the company said. Walmart plans to announce McMillon’s successor as president/CEO of Walmart International by the end of its fiscal year on Jan. 31.