Bentonville, Ark. - Former Walmart president and vice chairman Jack Shewmaker died last night of an apparent heart attack. He was 72.
Shewmaker was instrumental in developing Walmart's everyday low price strategy (EDLP), which forever changed the retail landscape, and led the company's adoption of new technologies including bar code scanning and satellite systems that linked stores, distribution centers and headquarters.
He was hired by Walmart founder Sam Walton as a district manager in 1970, and within the next decade would variously serve as president, COO, chief financial officer and vice chairman.
In an open statement to employees, Wal-Mart Stores president/CEO Mike Duke described Shewmaker as one of Walmart's greatest warriors, as well as a mentor and personal friend.
"Jack was an extraordinarily gifted merchant and one of my greatest ongoing development opportunities was to walk stores and clubs with Jack -- with him striding ahead and me taking notes as quickly as I could," Duke recalled.
The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to one of the following organizations:
Jack C. Shewmaker Memorial, Jack Shewmaker Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) World Headquarters, 1959 East Kerr, Springfield, MO 65803
Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) Foundation, 1 College Drive, Bentonville, AR 72712-5091
Westark Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, 1401 Old Greenwood Road, Fort Smith, AR 72901