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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

New Wal-Mart CEO is company insider

This story first appeared in USA Today.

Arkansas native has spent is career at Wal-Mart, starting in 1984 as a summer associate in one of the company's distribution centers
Doug McMillon, Wal-Mart's new CEO, was asked in a 2008 interview what the biggest factor was in his success.

The executive, who ran Wal-Mart's Sam's Club discount warehouse business at the time, said it was what he learned during his first few months working at the world's largest retailer.

WAL-MART CEO:  Duke out, McMillon in

"Unless you're there, you don't really understand it, and when you're big, people may assume that you've got bad intentions," McMillon said. "I learned more in the first six months at Wal-Mart than I learned in 5 1/2 years of post-secondary education."

Originally from Jonesboro, Ark., McMillon, 47, started his career in 1984 as a summer associate at a Wal-Mart distribution center.

He got a B.S. in business administration from the University of Arkansas and an MBA from the University of Tulsa. While pursuing the MBA, he rejoined the company in a Tulsa Walmart store.

A lot of McMillon's 22 years at the company were spent in merchandising in the Walmart U.S. division, giving him with experience with food, apparel and general goods. From 2006 to February 2009, he ran Sam's Club and then took over Walmart International.

That deep Wal-Mart experience likely gave him leg up versus other candidates like Bill Simon, who runs Walmart U.S.

"Bill Simon was more of an outsider," said Sucharita Mulpuru, a retail analyst at Forrester Research. "It was going to be one of them."

McMillon also has a record of generating growth - both at Sam's Club and the International business, which he ran from Arkansas.

The International growth record has been marred by a bribery scandal in Mexico. However, the overseas operations have expanded swiftly irrespective of the impact of the business in Mexico, Mulpuru noted.

McMillon has been involved in the response to the scandal. During a Wal-Mart meeting with investors last month, he said the company now has a chief compliance officer and anti-corruption leader in each market around the world.

"One of the things we're doing right now as we speak is making sure that we've got all the right resources to make this a world class compliance effort within Wal-Mart," he said. "We've hired new people and we've realigned people into this global structure. And we now have through those efforts over 1,000 people that work full time on compliance."