The Walmart (NYSE:WMT) board is determined to announce its successor to current 63-year-old CEO Mike Duke within a few months, even though Duke has no imminent plans to leave. The board has zeroed in on two leading candidates: international chief Doug McMillon, 46, and U.S. operations executive Bill Simon, 53, according to a Bloomberg report.
McMillon, who has worked at Walmart since starting as a summer worker in 1984, is close to the Walton family, which is always a plus. As the exec in charge of global operations, he has been responsible for a huge chunk of the recent growth for the world's largest retailer.
But politics may also play a role. The Mexican bribe scandal and lobbying improprieties in India may make it more difficult to promote McMillon to the top slot. Given the number of players involved in those situations—especially in Mexico—it may be hard to pin much blame on McMillon, but no one ever said CEO selections at this level are supposed to be fair.
As for Simon, he helpfully holds the job that Simon held before he got the top gig. Recent reports of worker cutbacks causing unstocked merchandise to stay unstocked could pose a similar promotion hardship for Simon. It's quite possible that the two problems will cancel each other and not end up playing a major role in the decision. (Moral of the corporate story: If you're fighting for the top job with a big boo-boo on your recent record, it's best to make sure your chief rival has just as big a boo-boo on his/her record.)
- See the Bloomberg story
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