Rob Walton steps down
Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores announced that board chairman Rob Walton is stepping down and will be succeeded by vice chairman Greg Penner, who is Walton’s son-in-law. Walton relinquished the position of chairman at the company’s annual meeting on June 5.
The move to elevate Penner to the new role didn’t come as huge shock since the stage had been set for the move at Walmart’s annual meeting last year when Walton, 70, announced Penner had been named the board’s vice chairman. Walton has served as chairman of the board since 1992 the same year that his father and company founder Sam Walton died. He will continue to serve on the board.
“This transition demonstrates Walmart’s commitment to long-term succession planning and keeping high caliber, capable leaders at the head of our company,” said Walton. “Greg’s service to Walmart spans more than 15 years, and during that time he has had a significant impact, both as an associate and as a board member the past seven years. Greg has done an outstanding job as our vice chairman over the past year, and he has provided strong leadership and guidance as the chairman of our technology and e-commerce committee since it was formed in 2011. He brings an ideal blend of finance, technology and international business expertise – as well as a deep knowledge and love of Walmart – to this role.”
Penner, 45, began his career at Goldman Sachs & Co. as an analyst specializing in corporate finance. He then joined Walmart as a management trainee and held a number of positions throughout the company, including senior vice president of finance and strategy for walmart.com and senior vice president and CFO of Japan.
Since 2005, he has been a general partner of investment management firm Madrone Capital Partners. Penner joined the Walmart board of in 2008. Although his last name isn’t Walton, Penner is married to Rob Walton’s daughter and together they have four children.
“It would be impossible to overstate Rob Walton’s impact on Walmart and how personally committed he has been over the years,” said Penner. “I’m deeply honored to follow in his footsteps and recognize the deep responsibility I have to our associates, all shareholders and the board. I’ve admired this company since my first Saturday morning meeting more than two decades ago. I believe in its mission and the positive role it plays throughout the world. I am excited about continuing to work with our outstanding senior management team and talented Walmart associates at all levels of the company.”