By Anne D’Innocenzio
BENTONVILLE, ARK.: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. CEO and President Mike Duke plans to step down Feb. 1. The company said Monday that Doug McMillon, head of international operations, will succeed him.
Duke, 63, who had been with Walmart since 1995, had been at the helm since February 2009. Duke will stay on as chairman. McMillon, 47, marks the fifth CEO since Walmart founder Sam Walton, and all of them have been home-grown with years of experience before taking the helm.
McMillon was also elected to the company’s board of directors, effective immediately.
McMillon, who succeeded Duke as head of the international business four years ago, is a 23-year company veteran. He started as a summer associate in a Walmart distribution center in 1984 and then in 1990, he rejoined Walmart at a Tulsa, Okla., store. He then worked in merchandising jobs at the Walmart U.S. division. Before he took over international operations, McMillon served as president and CEO of Sam’s Club from 2006 to 2009.
The announcement came just days before the holiday shopping season as Walmart is trying to boost sales in the U.S. and abroad amid a challenging global economy that’s weighing on its low-income shoppers.
The company also is grappling with allegations of bribery in its Mexico operations that surfaced in April 2012 as well as criticism over its treatment of its hourly workers.