Wal-Mart Taps McMillon To Lead International

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Working one’s way from an entry level position to the top of the company ladder is the American dream. Few, if any, corporations can trot out as many such stories as Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Doug McMillon, the 42-year-old CEO of the Sam’s Club division, has been tapped to take over Mike Duke’s role as president of the international division.

Duke is set to succeed current CEO Lee Scott as of the new fiscal year beginning Feb. 1. Scott is one of those Wal-Mart stories himself, working his way up from his start in logistics in 1979 to succeeding David Glass in 2000.

McMillon, who has led Sam’s Club for three years, began his Wal-Mart career as an hourly worker at a distribution center in Northwest Arkansas while he paid his way through school at the University of Arkansas.

He became a buyer trainee while in graduate school in 1990 and eventually worked in all three Wal-Mart divisions, including some international experience as the general merchandise manager for Sam’s Club International. Sam’s has stores outside the U.S. in Brazil, Canada, China, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Wal-Mart international has been the Bentonville retailer’s fastest growing division for years and is projected to top $100 billion in sales for the first time during the 2009 fiscal year that ends Jan. 31.

As a percentage of total sales, international accounted for 24.2 percent in FY 2008 compared to 19.2 percent in 2006. The $90.6 billion in sales during 2008 was a 53 percent increase versus $59.2 billion in 2006.

Wal-Mart is exploring the Russian market, continues to expand its presence in China, has established a strategic supply chain relationship with Bharti Enterprises of India and operates 3,300 stores under 50 banners in 13 countries.

No successor to McMillon has been named — and while we have no inside information — there are at least a couple names that fit the “Wal-Mart story” personified by McMillon and Scott.

There’s Charles Redfield, a Northwest Arkansas Business Journal 2007 40 Under 40 honoree, who is the senior vice president for both health and wellness for Wal-Mart and merchandising at Sam’s Club.

He began his Wal-Mart career as a part-time cashier at age 19 at the Springdale Sam’s Club and was managing the store by age 26.

Then there’s Greg Johnson, Sam’s Club executive vice president for operations. He began his time at Wal-Mart in 1982 at Store No. 1 in Rogers as a cart pusher.

Wal-Mart Tenders Bid For Chile Chain

One of McMillon’s first duties will be managing the acquisition of Wal-Mart’s latest international brand, D&S of Chile. D&S is a conglomerate of various store formats, not so unlike Wal-Mart’s own variety of supercenters, Sam’s Clubs, Neighborhood Markets and Marketside stores.

D&S has five divisions, from hypermarket “one-stops” to fresh-food focused bodegas. On Dec. 20, Wal-Mart tendered an offer to acquire at least 50.01 percent of the outstanding D&S shares, including its American Depository Shares (NYSE: DYS). Wal-Mart said it was paying a 37 percent premium over the stock’s price during the month preceding the offer.

Wal-Mart did not announce the total price of the offer, but Reuters calculated it at $2.66 billion. Wal-Mart is paying 40.8 cents per share of D&S and $24.48 per share of DYS. D&S is the market leader in Chile, with 32.6 percent share.