Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott announces retirement

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 199 views 

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. President and CEO Lee Scott is stepping down after eight years at the helm of the world’s largest retailer, the company announced Friday morning.

Mike DukeMike Duke is vice chairman of Wal-Mart’s international division. Duke (left) will assume the title of president and CEO effective Feb 1. Scott will continue to serve as chairman of the company’s executive committee.

The Wal-Mart board of directors also promoted Eduardo Castro-Wright, 53, to vice chairman of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., effective immediately.  He will continue to work as president and CEO of Walmart U.S., and will add to his duties the management for the
company’s Global Procurement operation.

The company’s statement said Scott is retiring after successfully leading the company through major transformation. Not all of that transformation was positive.

During Scott’s tenure, the company was forced to exit from Germany and South Korea. Also, the company’s attempt to pursue more affluent customers with higher priced products and different store layouts in affluent suburbs did not generate the returns the company, or shareholders, expected.

Also, the company’s share price has remained flat during Scott’s tenure. The per-share price in January 2000 hovered around $55. Today the price is around $50.

The company also suffered numerous public relations blunders under Scott’s reign, to include Tom Coughlin, the company’s No. 2 executive at the time, being convicted of defrauding the company of around $500,000.

The largest class-action lawsuit in the country’s history — litigation alleging discrimination against female managers — began under Scott’s tenure.

“This management change occurs at a time of strength and momentum for Wal-Mart,” said Rob Walton, chairman of the Wal-Mart board of directors and son of company founder Sam Walton, in a company statement. “Our overall management team has never been stronger. We are confident that the strategy we have in place is the right one for future success and Mike has been actively involved in developing and executing this strategy. We are also pleased that our succession and management development process continues to develop leaders internally.”

Link here to see the company’s press release.