Wal-Mart Shifts Strategy, Leader
FILE - In this June 7, 2013 file photo, Doug McMillon, President and CEO, Wal-Mart International, speaks at the shareholders meeting in Fayetteville, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 announced that CEO and President Mike Duke is stepping down from those posts, and named McMillon as his successor, effective Feb. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/April L. Brown, File)
FILE - In this June 1, 2012 file photo, Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart International, speaks during the shareholders' meeting in Fayetteville, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores announced Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 that CEO and President Mike Duke is stepping down from those posts. The world's biggest retailer named Doug McMillon as his successor, effective Feb. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/April L. Brown, File)
FILE - In a Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 file photo, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. President and CEO Mike Duke answers a question during a panel discussion at the Wal-Mart U.S. Manufacturing Summit in Orlando, Fla. WalMart announced Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 that Wal-Mart Stores CEO and President Mike Duke is stepping down from those posts. The world's biggest retailer named Doug McMillon as his successor. The 63-year-old Duke will stay on as chairman. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is ushering in a changing of the guard as the world’s largest retailer confronts slower growth and challenges to its reputation.
Doug McMillon, head of Wal-Mart’s international division, will succeed CEO and President Mike Duke, 63, when he steps down on Feb 1 after five years in those roles. McMillon, a 23-year company veteran, will become the fifth CEO since Wal-Mart’s founder Sam Walton.
The change at the top is indicative of a recent shift in strategy at the company best known for its cutthroat pricing and big box stores. McMillon, 47, is expected to infuse a youthful spirit into Wal-Mart’s culture at a time when the company is trying to reinvent itself to attract a generation of shoppers who gravitate toward tablets and mobile devices.
The move also is a testament to the company’s continued focus on its international division.
McMillon, who started at the company in 1984 as a summer intern, left and came back in 1990 to work at a Wal-Mart store before holding several jobs, including a three-year stint as president and CEO of the Sam’s Club division.
But in February 2009, he succeeded Duke to head the international division. In that role, McMillon has been expanding Wal-Mart into Brazil and China, while trying to boost profitability by closing other stores in those countries.
McMillon and Duke declined interviews with The Associated Press through the company’s spokesman Dave Tovar.
McMillon faces challenges. Wal-Mart is seeing its low-income shoppers in the U.S. struggling with stagnant wages and rising costs. At the same time, Wal-Mart faces fierce competition from online competitors and dollar chains that offer convenience and lower prices.