Family: Wife Susan; three adult children, two daughters and a son; five grandchildren
Age: 63 (born December 7, 1949)
Residence: Rogers, AR
Mike Duke has been CEO and President of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., since February 2009. Before he replaced Lee Scott as CEO, he led the company’s International division, and was made aware of bribery allegations in the company’s Mexican subsidiary as early as October 2005. It is rumored that he will retire soon.
Duke is a car aficionado; he reportedly drives a black Porsche 911.
Duke’s 2012 compensation package at Walmart was worth $20.7 million, a 14% increase from the previous year. His compensation included a $3.4 million bonus and over $100,000 in personal use of company aircraft. He owns about $138 million of Walmart stock.
The average Walmart associate makes $8.81 an hour. This means that Duke’s compensation was 1,328 times the average worker’s. In other words, it would take the average associate, working Walmart’s definition of full time, 1,328 years to make what Duke made just in 2012. In 2011, amid slumping same store sales (a measure of performance over time at stores open at least a year), Walmart’s compensation committee removed the same store sales metric from its formula for determining Duke’s performance pay. Duke’s total compensation for that year was higher than it would have been if the company hadn’t moved the goal posts; he got $16 million in performance-based pay that year. Walmart associates, on the other hand, get quarterly bonuses so small that many say they barely even make a difference.
Educational and professional background
In 1971, Duke received a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech, where he was a member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity. At Fayette County High School in Georgia, he was captain of the football team and was awarded for both sportsmanship and aggression.
Duke has been the Chief Executive Officer and President of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. since February 1, 2009. He is Walmart’s fifth CEO and the first to have never worked with Sam Walton directly. He has sat on Walmart’s board of directors since 2008 and currently serves on the Executive Committee and the Global Compensation Committee. Duke joined Walmart in 1995. He began his career at Rich Department Stores, which later became Federated and May Department Stores.
When his appointment to replace former CEO Lee Scott was announced—he is said to have been Scott’s protégé—many in the investment community were pleased. Duke had been the CEO and President of Walmart International since October 2005, and the company’s growth in the coming years was expected to come from the international segment. It is now clear that Duke was informed of the bribery scandal that fueled Walmart’s growth in Mexico soon after stepping into the top position with Walmart International.
In April 2012, the New York Times published a Pulitzer Prize-winning story exposing allegations of bribery by Walmart in Mexico. The story revealed that an internal whistleblower came forward in September 2005, alleging widespread bribery at Walmart’s Mexican subsidiary, Walmart de Mexico. In October 2005, Duke, then head of Walmart International, received an email detailing the allegations. In January 2006, Duke, then-CEO Lee Scott, and board chair Rob Walton received an anonymous email alleging that Walmart de Mexico’s real estate executives had been receiving kickbacks from construction companies. After the investigation was transferred to Walmart de Mexico officials who were implicated in the scandal, the inquiry was shut down in May 2006. Since the allegations resurfaced with the 2012 New York Times story, Walmart has faced mounting costs of investigating its compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
Walmart shareholders have increasingly expressed concern about Duke’s leadership of the company. In 2013, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System voted against all of Walmart’s board members, including Mr. Duke. Calpers, the nation’s largest pension fund, voted against him as well, citing “concerns surrounding the Board’s oversight of operational and reputational risk.” The New York City Pension Funds voted against Duke too, for the second year in a row. Investors cited Duke’s role at the helm of Walmart International as the Mexico bribery scandal reportedly came to light within the company. Excluding the Waltons, 30% of shareholders voted against Duke.
Mike Duke’s son-in-law also works for Walmart. Stephen P. Weber is a senior manager in Walmart’s Information Systems Division. In 2012, he made approximately $127,235, plus he received approximately $24,000 under the Management Incentive Plan and other benefits totaling approximately $16,100.
Duke is a registered Republican in Arkansas. Since 2000, he and his wife Susan of contributed $19,600 in federal elections, with the vast majority of it going to Republican candidates and committees. Duke supported George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 and McCain in 2008.
Mike and Susan Duke signed a petition in support of a 2008 Arkansas ballot initiative to prevent gay couples from adopting children or serving as foster parents. Jim Walton was one of the initiative’s top contributors. The measure passed and was struck down by the state Supreme Court in 2011.
Industry groups and community connections
- Business Roundtable, Executive Committee
- Conservation International, Executive Council, Center for Environmental Leadership in Business
- University of Arkansas, Board of Advisors
- Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management (Beijing, China), Advisory Board
- National Academy of Engineering, Member