In another sign of the growing pressure from Walmart workers and their allies, Walmart announced in its annual proxy statement (a report filed with the SEC in advance of the annual shareholders meeting) yesterday that two long-time board members would be stepping down. The two board members are former Walmart CEO Lee Scott, Jr. and independent board member and Audit Committee chairman Christopher Williams.
The Mexico bribery scandal at Walmart was a dark cloud over the company’s annual meeting and recent news regarding the company’s business practices around the world suggests more stormy weather ahead.
We know it’s only Wednesday, but it’s already been a busy enough week for the Waltons that we thought a roundup was in order:
Tomorrow, Walmart shareholders will gather at the Bud Walton Arena at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville for the company’s annual meeting, beginning at 7AM CDT. These meetings have grown to be star-studded events, but industry watchers will look past the celebrity emcee and performers and watch as the board of directors, executives, and company practices come under scrutiny by shareholders.
There’s no doubt that Jim Breyer, the billionaire venture capitalist who sits on the boards of Facebook and Walmart, is very rich and very smart. Good for him.
As Walmart prepares for its shareholder meeting next Friday, June 1, several members of the Walmart 1 Percent were confronted this week by Walmart workers and their allies. Members of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) visited Walmart US CEO Bill Simon, Walmart Board Member Michele Burns, and Walmart Board Nominee Marissa Mayer.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that, after Walmart allegedly violated federal law by bribing Mexican officials, it began working behind the scenes to weaken the very law that it allegedly broke. Sure, this is a violation of the company’s internal ethics policy (“Never cover up or ignore an ethics problem”). However, if the allegations are true, Walmart also appears to have violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.