Change is in the air these days, and Wal-Mart
Scott will leave on Feb. 1, 2009, when the company's fiscal year ends. He will be replaced by Mike Duke, who is currently CEO of Wal-Mart's international segment. Interestingly enough, both guys are about the same age. (Scott is 59, Duke is 58.)
Duke's coming in at an interesting time. Although Wal-Mart, like fellow discounter Costco
Meanwhile, although it's been much easier to lure customers focused on cost-cutting these days, one can only hope Wal-Mart won't lose sight of the importance of protecting its brand while not seeming to do its business in a thuggish manner, which has often been a problem in the past.
Wal-Mart recently said that it's joining up with Duke Energy
Wal-Mart's not alone in switching CEOs: Last spring, rival Target
Changes in management at publicly traded companies are more significant in some cases than in others. (Look at the crazy gyrations in Apple's
Clearly, though, change is coming to Wal-Mart. In the past, the company has often been one of my less favorite retail names, primarily because of how it treats workers and suppliers (despite my admission that tough times made its stock more attractive, and did they ever). If Wal-Mart can continue to make good changes, any market share it steals during the recession might stick. I'd say Mr. Duke definitely has some challenges ahead.
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