LITTLE ROCK — The incoming new top executive of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has strong ties to Central Arkansas.
Doug McMillon was named chief executive officer of the nation’s largest retailer Monday, effective Feb. 1, 2014. Currently president and CEO of Wal-Mart International, McMillon will replace Mike Duke, 63, who is stepping down.
McMillon’s wife is from Maumelle and they lived there during the 1990s, when he served in a mid-management position for Walmart. Her parents still live there and he has lived in the Little Rock suburb off and on over the years while in school and in transition.
During the opening of the Walmart Supercenter on Maumelle Boulevard in 2008, McMillon said he was proud of the time he lived in Maumelle. In fact, he said he was was involved in the original attempt to locate a Supercenter on a tract where a Kroger store is now located.
The five-year-old Supercenter on Maumelle Boulevard was one of the first in the company to utilize new merchandising, branding and signage that grouped products by similar color signs to provide an easier flow for shoppers through the store. McMillon coordinated the effort.
He used more neutral and earth tone shades, contrasting the original bright fluorescent colors that Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton used in his first stores to attract attention.
Before heading Wal-Mart International, McMillon was president of Sam’s Clubs Inc. from 2006 through 2009.
“The opportunity to lead Walmart is a great privilege,” McMillon said in a statement. “Our company has a rich history of delivering value to customers across the globe and, as their needs grow and change, we will be there to serve them. Our management team is talented and experienced, and our strategy gives me confidence that our future is bright. By keeping our promise to customers, we will drive shareholder value, create opportunity for our associates and grow our business.”
Rob Walton, chairman of the Wal-Mart Board of Directors, said the leadership change comes at a time of strength and growth for the company.
“Doug is uniquely positioned to lead our growing global company and to serve the changing customer, while remaining true to our culture and values,” Walton said. “He has broad experience – with successful senior leadership roles in all of Walmart’s business segments – and a deep understanding of the economic, social and technological trends shaping our world.”
Duke will continue serving as chairman of the executive committee of the Wal-Mart board and, in the tradition of his predecessors, stay on as an adviser to McMillon for one year. The company plans to make an announcement on McMillon’s successor as CEO of Walmart International by the end of the fiscal year.
— Bill Lawson is editor of the Maumelle Monitor