Wal-Mart shrinks board to 12, founder’s son to retire

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc said it will shrink its board by three members to 12, bringing it closer to US corporate norms in a move the largest US retailer hopes would allow it to respond more nimbly to rapid market changes.
The change will take place after Wal-Mart’s annual shareholders’ meeting on June 3, it said in a statement.
The revamp includes the retirement of Jim Walton, 67, the youngest son of the late Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, after 11 years on the board, the retailer said. His son Steuart, 34, has been nominated for a seat on the board.
Also departing are Aida Alvarez, a former member of US President Bill Clinton’s cabinet, retail industry veteran Roger Corbett, and Mike Duke, who was Wal-Mart’s president and chief executive from 2009 to 2014.
Wal-Mart, which posted a double-digit profit decline last year as the dollar appreciated and costs rose as it hiked entry-level wages, said a smaller board would lead to better and faster decision-making. The average board size for companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was 10.8 last year, according to the Spencer Stuart board index. “The changes we are making are designed to maximize our effectiveness as we adapt to ever-evolving customer requirements,” James Cash, the board’s lead independent director, said in the statement.
Both Alvarez, 66, a member of the auditing committee, and Corbett, 73, the former CEO of Australian retailer Woolworths Ltd, had been on the board for a decade, the normal tenure for independent directors, Wal-Mart said. Duke’s departure two years after leaving the CEO post is also in line with historical standards, the company said.
Wal-Mart also said on Wednesday that CEO Doug McMillon’s total compensation last year was valued at $19.8 million, up from $19.4 million in 2014. Wal-Mart is an American multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of hypermarkets.

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