Duke for Doug! Or the opposite? Never mind facts are that world’s largest retailer Wal-Mart, just changed top leadership, new CEO is company veteran Doug McMillon, 47. The replacement will take place on February 1and previous chief executive and President Mike Duke, 63 will remain with the company as chairman. It’s kind of a surprise that this announcement became public just few days before the start of the holiday shopping season, when Wal-Mart is expecting trouble again, or new CEO was maybe smart move.
From worker to throne taker
Doug McMillon, 47, will be the fifth CEO for world’s largest retailer, since Wal-Mart’s founder Sam Walton, and all of them have been home-grown. He first joined Wal-Mart in 1984 as a summer associate in distribution center, after that he rejoined in 1990, but this time at Tulsa store. So all together it took him almost 3 decades to become CEO from ordinary summer worker. Before latest position he served as the head of Wal-Mart International, a fast-growing part of the company with 823,000 employees in 26 countries.
Doug McMillon will have to show characteristics of a true leader, since he is taking throne in a tricky time for Wal-Mart; they are actually facing new scrutiny for treatment of employees and constant pressure to boost sales. While the company is trying hard to grow same-store sales in the United States, it has been the target of repeated job actions by workers and outside organizers at the same time. Workers and their backers are planning protests at 1,500 Wal-Mart stores, while the company hosts its annual most important event: Black Friday sales. Workers hope that protests during Black Friday will help them in pointing out their situation of being underpaid, given less than full-time hours and receiving only few benefits, all together being exploited. So this year might be like last year or even worse, when hundreds of Wal-Mart workers walked off the job in 46 states on Black Friday.
Reasons for change
Both sides; workers and world’s largest retailer hope to benefit from CEO change. The protesters are using their chance now to renew their call for higher pay and better benefits, while Wal-Mart for sure believes that new leader will know how to deal with worker’s demands.
“We sincerely hope that Mr. McMillon will answer the country’s calls for Wal-Mart to publicly commit to paying $25,000 a year, providing full-time work and ending its illegal retaliation against its own employees,” said Tiffany Beroid, a Wal-Mart worker for a statement released by protest organizers.
There is nothing wrong if you think that Wal-Mart changed executives in order to deal with workers issues and they have chosen the one who used to be a worker himself, but still there are no evidence that they did for workers problems. They even tried to justified themselves with the fact that after five years it was time for Mr. Duke to retire. At the end was it a smart business move or just a coincidence, only Wal-Mart knows.