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.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the food stamp program, now known as SNAP, which one in seven Americans now relies on to have enough to eat. As Marketplace reported last week, Walmart is the biggest beneficiary of this taxpayer-funded subsidy: It brings in the largest share of food stamp dollars of any retailer, about $13 billion in 2013. Walmart even acknowledged the significance of SNAP to the company in the annual report it released three weeks ago.
As the Wall Street Journal reported last week, new Walmart CEO Doug McMillon “woke up Thursday morning to find a personal message from worker advocates asking for better pay and treatment splashed across a full page ad in his hometown newspaper,” the Benton County Daily Record.
Tomorrow, Doug McMillon will become the fifth CEO of Walmart and the youngest to have the job since Sam Walton himself. Before him will be the monumental task of steering the retail giant back on course and into public favor.
Granted, it’s an old book, but after recent public gaffes, maybe Walmart should consider passing out Dale Carnegie’s classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People” at the next Saturday morning in Bentonville.
More takeaways from last week’s analyst shindig: