Wal-Mart just appointed a “young pup” to the role of president and chief executive officer. 

Well, not exactly young, but 47. That’s younger than me, at least.

Doug McMillon will succeed Mike Duke, 63, as president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., starting Feb. 1, 2014.

It's a blue and yellow rags to riches story. That’s pretty heady stuff, holding the reigns of a company with $466 billion in global sales and 245 million customers every week.

Check out the release here:

 The release touted his experience and vision, with Rob Walton, chairman of Wal-Mart’s board of directors, stating McMillon is “uniquely positioned” to serve the changing global consumer while “remaining true to our culture and values.” Walton said McMillon “reinvigorated the productivity loop” and delivered strong financial performance.

 Walton continues: “During his tenure the company made critical investments in talent and technology to expand Wal-Mart to even more customers globally and stepped up its progress on social and environmental issues. Mike also has a strong commitment to diversity, and has been especially engaged in advancing women throughout organization. He set a tone at the top to never be satisfied, to always accelerate and do better, while remaining true to the culture that has been core to the company’s success.”

 Hmm. Yes, but who is Doug McMillon?

The first Google answer to that question was answered with this Wal-Mart bio.

From that bio:


Doug McMillon is the president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart International, a fast-growing segment of Wal-Mart’s overall operations, with more than 6,300 stores and more than 823,000 associates in 26 countries outside the United States.

From 2006 to February 2009, Doug served as president and chief executive officer of Sam’s Club, an operating segment of Wal-Mart, with sales of more than $46 billion during his tenure.

In 1984, Doug began his career with the company as a summer associate in a Wal-Mart Distribution Center. In 1990, while pursuing his MBA, he rejoined the company in a Tulsa, Okla., Wal-Mart store. Much of Doug’s 22-year career has been in merchandising in the Wal-Mart U.S. division, with experience in food, apparel and general merchandise. He has also held various merchandising positions at Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart International in addition to holding leadership roles in all three operating segments of the company.

Doug serves on the board of directors of the U.S. China Business Council, the executive committee and board of directors for Enactus (formerly known as SIFE), the Dean’s Advisory Board for the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas and the board for Crystal Bridges, an American art museum. Doug also serves on the board of directors for Wal-Mart Mexico, and he has been recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

 Originally from Jonesboro, Ark., Doug graduated from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, with a bachelor of science in business administration. He received his MBA in finance at the University of Tulsa.


Check out a Wal-Marst video of McMillon here.

 Another online report calls McMillon “affable” but questions his ability to handle rival executives who wanted the job, and complains of his less than sterling recent results for the global division.

Well, McMillon didn’t rise to his position with simple good natured earnestness. Does he have what it takes to lead Wal-Mart over the long run? That’s unclear at this point.

Perhaps what the produce industry really wants to know about Doug McMillon is what he thinks of the company’s PTI compliance deadline and ongoing food safety and sustainability demands the chain puts on fresh produce suppliers.

 Check out this discussion thread in the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group by Ian Duffield, vice president of professional services at FoodLink Online:

With the first of the Wal-Mart PTI milestones passing on November 1st, we might have been expecting to hear anecdotes regarding loads being out of spec from Wal-Mart’s distribution centers. We may also have expected to hear about grower shippers getting exemptions for making a “good faith effort’.

While some shippers have taken the lead in PTI and are reaping unexpected benefits, in contrast, it seems many are taking the approach of “I’ll comply when I have to and not before”. Others are moving to comply, but its on their timeline, not Walmart’s. Still others are asking “How do I get a GTIN?”

At Foodlink we have seen a significant increase in inquiries and sales in the last 5 months, but still less than, many of us expected, and we hear the same from other companies in the PTI space.

Is Walmart enforcing their mandate or will it pass into history as a good idea that never gained momentum? Is the debate over the FSMA rules causing companies to sit on the fence as long as possible?

I guess more will be revealed as we reach the second Walmart milestone on January 1, when non-PTI compliant loads will be rejected at the receiving dock.


TK: Perhaps we will know about McMillon and his leadership style after the firm's Jan. 1 PTI deadline comes to sharp focus. Is it all words and no action? The clock is ticking and McMillon needs to "reinvigorate the productivity loop" for PTI.