David Cheesewright, former chief executive officer for Walmart International, ended his full-time employment with Walmart on March 31 and transitioned to a part-time consultant role for Walmart Canada for the next year. Cheesewright will earn a base salary before taxes of $1.024 million. He will not be eligible for an annual cash incentive payment or performance pay while serving in the part-time capacity, according to a filing Wednesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Cheesewright is to receive transition payments totaling $5.556 million, less withholding, over the next six months. The first payment of $785,172 is payable within 30 days. The balance of $4.770 million will be paid in equal bi-weekly payments through October. Cheesewright’s total compensation in fiscal 2017 was $11.8 million, including a cash bonus of $3.24 million. He earned stock awards totaling $6.501 million and a base salary of $1.071 million. The retirement filing indicates the company will accelerate the vesting of 49,992 shares of restricted stock awards to Cheesewright’s designated retirement date of Jan. 31, 2019. Cheesewright is a resident of Canada and had elected to receive his pay in Canadian dollars while serving as Walmart International CEO.
Walmart said Cheesewright notified the company in mid-January of his plans to step away from running the international division, a job he held since Dec. 10, 2013. Officially, he exited the CEO role Jan. 31 and he remained with Walmart International helping with the transition to Judith McKenna through March.
The filing states Cheesewright will be bound by a one-year non-compete clause which keeps him for working in retail or competing in anyway with Walmart’s global retail operations. He was also asked to resign any board positions held on behalf of Walmart. Cheesewright served on the boards of Yihaodian and Massmart, which are Walmart subsidiaries. He also serves on the board of Smith School of Business at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.
Cheesewright, 55, has amassed two decades of experience in global retail. He rose through the Walmart ranks fairly quickly after joining the company in 1999 through the grocery subsidiary ASDA in the United Kingdom. He rose to chief operating officer for ASDA in two years and then in 2004 he moved to that role in Canada. He returned to Asda in 2006 as chief operations officer until 2008, when he took over as CEO of Walmart Canada, a role he held for 3 years. In 2011, his role was expanded to include CEO of Canada, as well as Middle East and Africa and Europe for the next two years before he assumed the role of Walmart International CEO from Doug McMillon who was tagged to replace Mike Duke as Walmart Stores CEO.
“During his 19 years with the company, David has served in a number of key leadership roles in our company. He has built a reputation as an insightful strategic thinker with a track record of delivering consistent, profitable growth. He has been instrumental in strengthening our business across the globe. He’s a passionate advocate for our people, culture and purpose around the world,” said Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon.
The International division has performed well overall during Cheesewright’s tenure with growth in China, Mexico, Central America and Canada. Brazil and U.K. have had plenty of competitive challenges. Japan is also stagnant with the retailer and India is growing slowly with just a wholesale enterprise. Improvements have been made in the Chilean business and the retailer says very little about the Massmart investment in South Africa.
Cheesewright said in October the International division was seen as a growth engine and talent development pool for future leaders for the global retailer. At the time, Cheesewright said he was more than optimistic about the International division that generated $123.4 billion in revenue in fiscal 2017, roughly 25% of the company’s total revenue.
Like other CEOs who have exited Walmart, Cheesewright also has executive experience in manufacturing, having spent 12 years with Mars Confectionary in the U.K. Rosalind Brewer, former CEO of Sam’s Club, was an executive at Kimberly Clark before she jumped into retail and Brian Cornell, also a former CEO of Sam’s Club, spent time at PepsiCo, before and after he left Sam’s Club. Cornell is now CEO of Target Stores.