Wal-Mart's new CEO started there as a teen

Doug McMillon worked his way up from a summer job at a distribution center to head the retailer's international division.

By Forbes Digital Nov 25, 2013 4:17PM
By Clare O'Connor, Forbes Staff

In a surprise move, Wal-Mart (WMT) has announced its new CEO will be Doug McMillon, a 47-year-old who started out in the retail giant’s warehouse as a teen.

McMillon will take the helm of the world’s largest retailer effective Feb. 1, when current president and CEO Mike Duke will step down.

Duke, 63, had been rumored to be considering retirement but an obvious successor had not been floated externally.
Wal-Mart’s new CEO is the current head of Wal-Mart International, overseeing the company’s growing interests in 26 countries outside the U.S.

McMillon has a long history with the store chain, having started out as summer employee in a distribution center in 1984 before heading to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, one town over from the retailer’s corporate headquarters.Wal-Mart store in Secaucus, New Jersey / Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In 1990, while pursuing his MBA, he rejoined the company in a Tulsa, Okla., Wal-Mart store. He spent the intervening 23 years climbing the ranks, mostly in merchandising positions.

Billionaire Wal-Mart chairman Rob Walton described McMillon’s ascension to CEO as a nod to the store chain’s “changing customer,” one that is increasingly international.

“A merchant at heart, Doug has both a long history with our company and a keen sense of where our customers globally are heading next,” said Walton in a statement.

“He has also shown strong leadership on environmental sustainability and a commitment to using Wal-Mart’s size and scale to make a difference in the lives of people, wherever they might be.”

McMillon sits on the board of Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton’s Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art as well as the board of directors at Wal-Mart Mexico.

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Tags: ForbesWMT
86Comments
Nov 25, 2013 6:57PM
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 I doubt anything will change for the better, Profits will come first, a few will get even richer. It will still be stocked with junk from China, The stores will be understaffed, the employees will make poverty wages.
Nov 25, 2013 5:40PM
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I still won't shop there. Or use them as a bank, or Doctor's office. What's next, insurance?
Nov 25, 2013 11:07PM
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If it weren't for our lousy trade agreements that allow almost everything in Walmart to be made in China Walmart would pay higher wages and benefits. They would have to do this to keep employees from going to work at one of the many unionized factories nearby. The root cause of falling middle class wages, even in highly skilled professions is our poor trade agreements. I say poor because it is just good business sense to tax imports because they are gaining access to the worlds largest economy. when we ship goods to china only a handful of their elites will buy the goods, then they just copy or pirate to make the stuff there. Bring the jobs home, a surplus of jobs will drive up wages and spur consumption.
Nov 26, 2013 7:39AM
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I worked for a Walmart superstore for a bit. The vast majority of employees are college students or people with degrees who are unable to find work elsewhere because of the economy. They are highly skilled and intelligent people who have gotten the short end of the stick and are trying to support their families. One cashier had been with the company for 15 years and only made $11/hr. She was expected to train all incoming cashiers and was never given a cost of living increase when the minimum wage was increased because she had hit Walmart's pay ceiling. Please don't criticize employees in low-wage jobs until you know their stories. I have two degrees and five years of financial account management experience and I worked at Walmart because other places felt that I was overqualified. 
Nov 25, 2013 7:26PM
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I read some of the comments made here and am disappointed that people blame Wal Mart executives, they are not to blame for worker's wages nor is McDonalds, Burger King or any other Service Business....wages are from tradition. Service people in general are not paid a lot because the jobs are low skill jobs and don't require much... if you drill into these companies pay scales you will find many of their employees make good to high wages where more skills are required. America needs all levels of skill and diversification...the lower skill folks won't even know where I am coming from here and that is why they get stuck in these levels....they won't do better because they are unwilling or unable to do better, however they want the handout anyway and will live their lifetime just bitching.... I say put forth the effort get a good education set stretch goals and then if nothing happens you missed something somewhere.....or else you still have that attitude
Nov 25, 2013 6:25PM
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I can only hope this new CEO has a heart.  If not the employees will still be working for slave wages.  And don't forget slaves are not always black.  The first English settlers who came to this country had among them indentured servants', who were nothing more than slaves.
Nov 25, 2013 6:11PM
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only thing that changed is his "Paycheck" lots bigger now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nov 25, 2013 6:08PM
Nov 26, 2013 1:53AM
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I would like to see him make a difference. Walmart has been going down hill for a long time. It's a joke right now. They need to up their game.
Nov 25, 2013 6:34PM
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This story must be a lie.  We all know CEOs never worked a day in their life and had everything handed to them on a silver platter.  Right, Obama?

Nov 25, 2013 8:35PM
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Stupid liberals using "living wage".  Intelligent people call these jobs entry level positions
Nov 25, 2013 7:12PM
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Looks like Wal-mart is trying to change it image,getting a little worried about the holiday sales.Again try not to shop at the store (if you can help it ) let them start treating there help like human beings not slaves  BYE
Nov 26, 2013 4:13AM
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Well considering the violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that took place under this man in Mexico it looks like "business as usual" for Wallyworld....
Nov 26, 2013 7:15AM
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the only thing keeping wages down is millionaires and  billionaires  and if you are in a 401 k you are also reasonable.  stock  holders  set wages and befits when they put everyone into 401k wages  dropped  benefits  dropped.  gas  food  ect all  went  up not understanding the stock  market and its  power  we  the ones who are in a 401k  cut our own throats can not wait for the hands down on this truth  hurts roll your money out of the  401k   quit putting money into  it . see how  fast the big  money will set up and take notice
Nov 26, 2013 7:39AM
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Walmart haven't been the same since Mr. Sam died.
Nov 26, 2013 9:53AM
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We all had crappy jobs in the summer when we were kids. It doesn't mean we really understand what it's like to have to work one of those jobs long term into adulthood as your sole source of livelihood to support yourself and your family. He got an MBA and probably worked at their corporate headquarters most of his career and knows very little about life for a rank and file employees. It's like saying an attorney at McDonald's corporate office understands the woes of the fry cook at an individual restaurant. They work under the same banner but they are part of two completely different worlds.
Nov 26, 2013 9:42AM
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I don't shop at Wal-Mart anymore, not after how awful they treated my parents. I lost all respect for this vile company because of their business practices keep workers in just getting by employment and they just sell junk from overseas that doesn't last which has eroded the American manufacturing base in the process. It's time to impose taxes on imports to rebuild our own country. If we don't then every job will be a service job where everyone is in the barely getting by employed group with a very few that are actually rich. Go work at a wal-mart and see for yourself then ask how a multi Billion dollar company can make so much money but not keep stores staffed properly and pay a decent wage nor sell items that are actually made by Americans.
Nov 26, 2013 2:47AM
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As long as Wal-Mart sells 98% made in China products, pays its employees poorly and practices discriminatory hiring practices (Sand Springs, OK store) would not matter me to if Rev. Billy Graham was named their new CEO. I will only purchase 5% or less of my products from them.
Nov 25, 2013 10:39PM
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Wal-Mart, new CEO...........let me think about this.............who really cares. I don't shop that sweat shop!
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