Three Reasons Walmart's McMillon Got the Top Job

Exec Could Be Longest Tenured CEO at Retailer After Sam Walton

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It's always seemed more a question of when, rather than if, Doug McMillon would become CEO of Wal-Mart Stores. Here are three reasons why he got the nod this week:

Mr. McMillon is the last key Walmart executive to have worked under founder Sam Walton, hence his ability to recount a tale at the company's 2012 shareholder meeting about carrying out a directive from Mr. Sam to get Walmart's price on fishing line lowered in 1991. At 47, Mr. McMillon could become the longest-tenured CEO of Walmart since Mr. Sam.

Despite his 22 years at earth's largest retailer, Mr. McMillon remains unscarred by its biggest problems and controversies of the past decade. He wasn't in charge of Walmart U.S. during the tumultuous departure of former VP-Marketing Julie Roehm or when the U.S. business slipped into negative comparable-store sales. He had no say over now-discredited efforts to Target-ify Walmart or reversal of those efforts. He also wasn't in charge of the international division during the period leading to the current Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation: Current CEO Mike Duke was.

Mr. McMillon's international division has outperformed the rest of the company of late, and the Sam's Club division he previously headed outperformed Walmart U.S. during and after his tenure there.

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