Christopher Williams, who was on the audit committee when allegations of bribery in Mexico first surfaced and has chaired the committee since 2008, will be stepping down from the Walmart board in a few weeks. Who will be the new chair of the audit committee? It’s an important question, considering that the audit committee is charged with overseeing the FCPA/bribery investigation (even though it ignored investor concerns and failed to establish the right internal controls in the first place).
Big news today for Walmart director Tim Flynn, who also sits on the board of JPMorgan: JPMorgan and four regulators announced a settlement on the London Whale matter in which the company will pay $920 million in fines and acknowledge misconduct by company management.
After the Walmart annual meeting in June, three of the company’s directors will be stepping down from their positions. The exit of Jim Breyer, Michele Burns, and Arne Sorenson will leave Walmart’s Board of Directors will be even weaker and more compromised than it already was.
Last May, in the days leading up to Walmart’s annual meeting/extravaganza, the New York Times observed that Walmart lead independent director Jim Breyer, a partner at venture capital firm Accel Partners, was severely overextended, raising concerns about his commitment and ability to meet his directorship responsibilities. On top of his work at Accel, he was a director at five public companies, four of which were experiencing major scandals or troubles. Last spring, proxy advisory firm Pension & Investment Research Consultants even recommended that Walmart shareholders vote against re-electing him, dryly stating: “There are concerns over his aggregate time commitments.”