Walmart Gets A New CEO As Old One 'Transitions' Out

Change happens after a series of quarters with disappointing results.

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AOL/Cassandra Hubbart
Walmart announced today that William "Bill" Simon, the head of the US division, would step down immediately and be replaced, according to a company press release. Taking over on August 9 will be Greg Foran, who was previously president and CEO of Walmart Asia. Simon will "be available on a consulting basis for the next six months to ensure a seamless transition."

The timing and wording of the release suggest that this could have been a negotiated resignation. According to Walmart, Simon, who became CEO of Walmart US in 2010, "led a turnaround that reinvigorated the company's focus on everyday low costs, everyday low prices and an increased product assortment." The company says that Simon was also responsible for some popular moves, like the commitment to hire more veterans.
What wasn't addressed was financial performance, and that was a far different matter. The US division has had sluggish same-store sales for the past year, according to Reuters.

Same-store, also known as comparable, sales are a common business measurement in retail. Expansion or reduction in the number of units a chain has can make business look better or worse than it might actually be. Executives and analysts look at the comparative performance of stores that have been in operation for an extended period of time, usually at least a year. Same-store sales give a better sense of the ongoing financial health.

In addition, the company has seen generally disappointing results, much of which has been the fault of Walmart US operations, as CNN has reported.

Wal-Mart also triggered alarm bells by forecasting poor earnings for the current quarter, which is free from weather-related headaches. The world's largest retailer has now issued five consecutive below-consensus outlooks -- akin to going from being an "A" student to a "B" one.

"Their U.S. sales have been in a structural decline," Brian Sozzi, CEO of Belus Capital Advisors wrote, according to the CNN report. "Every quarter Wal-Mart has another excuse."

It could be that Doug McMillon, president and CEO of the entire Wal-Mart organization, decided to replace Simon.

Simon's retail experience was largely at Wal-mart. He was hired in 2006 as an executive vice president and served in two different capacities before becoming chief operating officer of Walmart US in 2007. Before Wal-mart, Simon was in charge of Florida's operations and administrative functions under Governor Jeb Bush. Prior to his government work, he was at beverage giant Diageo. In contrast, Foran has 30 years of retail experience, including long stints at chains in Australia.

Something unusual about Wal-Mart's leadership choices has been its run of "unpedigreed" CEOs, as Daily Finance has noted. Foran continues the trend. Although he "attended two advanced management programs at both Harvard University and the University of Virginia," according to Wal-Mart, his degree was from the New Zealand Institute of Management in Auckland, New Zealand.

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Jim

I totally agree with Shelly! Walmart has many, many so-called Assistant Managers (idiots) that think they Know how to manage people. Ninety percent of them have never done any of the work they are in charge of and they do not even know what all is involved in accomplishing that work. All they see is that the work may not get accomplished and they give a negative write-up on someone who is probably busting their tail trying to do the work of two or maybe three people just to have a job! This is Walmart and I know because I worked there for about three and a half years. I think Walmart teaches their managers to disregard ANY personal human sitiuations that interfere with making a buck! I seldom ever go to Walmart anymore since I quit but what few times I have been I still see the same inconsiderate treatment of the employees who actually do all of the work! Maybe one day the tables will turn when Walmart gets smart and one of the CEO's goes undercover and works third shift stocking frozen foods or groceries and sees where all of the work really happens. What would really be funny is if he/she gets wrote up for not getting their job done!

August 11 2014 at 2:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jim's comment
coneywarchief84

I can tell you one thing, the good Assistant Managers, which I mean the ones who treat people decently, usually get stressed out and leave the company. I can say as a current associate, you are preaching the truth and only outsiders wouldn't believe what is said and just dismiss it. At the store I work at, people are scheduled to leave at different times putting burden on those who close at later times. And they sometimes schedule a majority of the people off at the same time, expecting the ones who are working to double efforts by having them do their own job as well as others. At this point and time in the company, I'm pretty much covering for other associates. Yes, I'm getting more hours, but I'm also becoming more tired at the end of the day, while still making crap wages.

August 20 2014 at 2:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Shelley

Man oh man would I love to speak to the head of Walmart face to face and blast the hell out of him verbally !!! I wrote to Walmart once about a pregnant employee who was about 8 months gone who was bursting to go to the toilet and was told that she had to wait for her break and if she left her register, she would be fired. I also asked him in ths letter how nice it felt tio sit in his nice comfortable chair and walk on a carpeted floor? Never heard a word, of course. Too busy kicking back at taking it easy. I caught hold of the manager at this store and then realized that if I started my tirade, I would most probably get the young girl into trouble so i just said that it is a shame that Walmart doesn't offer the option of cashiers using stools behind the registers and that I feel that Walmart does not appreciate the wonderful staff they have. I wanted to really let go at her, but decided to just try to pop an idea into her head that the staff are not treated well. Hate the place, but it is sometimes a necessary evil !!! Won't even go near the story of the elderly meet and greet person who is not allowed to sit down when there are no customers entering the store. I mean ELDERLY !!!! Slavery at it's worst !!!!

August 05 2014 at 12:06 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Shelley's comment
jdelga03

I'm sorry, why are your writing a letter? and they stand up it's because they don't request a chair, the elderly do go chairs. I'm sorry but your a stupid.

August 09 2014 at 2:24 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
coneywarchief84

Well, as a person who works for that company, I have to say that when Sam passed, the company went the toilet. None of the other Walton family members care about the company, none of Sams kids, none of Buds kids. It's a shame really.

August 20 2014 at 2:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
maconsos26

The reason Wal-mart's sales are down is because of their bad image. They do not treat their employees well. I know. My daughter worked at wal-mart. She was treated poorly. The medical insurance they offer their employees is the worst ever - it pays absolutely nothing!! The worst thing Wal-mart does is to purchase their merchandise outside of the United States - eliminating jobs for Americans. With less jobs available employees are desperate for work and accept the abusefull jobs at wal-mart. (This is the new slavery.) Wal-mart claims it will sell more merchandise made in the U.S. Probably, just a drop in the bucket. This family has become so greedy and wealthy at the expense of the American worker. I have no respect for them.

August 04 2014 at 1:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
uwachabak

transitions out??? what the hell is that,,it used to be called bailing out with a GOLDEN parachute,, wonder how much this bozo got???????

July 29 2014 at 11:59 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
smfstiffy

Walmart not living up to projections, Amazon down 36 percent Blah blah yet THE stockmarket is UP! HOORAY!
Oh wait ,I dont have money in the stock market. In fact the Market is not being driven by portflios of US regular people. No its volume is just driven by people that can create volume. Nothing more.Fake buying power and
leveraged fractional dollars Just dont be under one of the buildings when they start jumping out!

July 25 2014 at 9:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
teeessiii

I honestly don't know where corporate America finds talentless clowns and empty-headed suits like this bozo, but one thing I know for sure is none of these born-into-it morons would be able to make it a day on their own in the real world.

July 25 2014 at 9:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to teeessiii's comment
teeessiii

....wouldn't be able to make it for a day on their own in the real world, that is.

July 25 2014 at 9:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom

It used to be truck drivers and RV's were allowed to park in Walmart\s lots as long as they were on the edges and they were not disturbing the customers this was one thing after Sam Passed away that they put a stop to they lost tons of customers from this decision and it has hurt them ever since what better way to bring in customers by letting travelers use the empty space or a tired truck driver that needs sleep their has never been any bad problems with any tourists that has done this when it was allowed the other problem was the "happy holidays" crap they started doing if people are offended by Merry Christmas then leave the country it is and American Tradition and always will be bring it all back and watch the profit margin rise !!

July 25 2014 at 7:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Wise One

It is my fervent hope and desire that Walmart and the wretches who seem to think that they are managers all meet the inglorious and despicable and disgusting end that they ALL so richly deserve for the way that they abuse, exploit, underpay and take advantage of their spineless, beaten down and completely demoralized associates. I hope that they all end up in hell.

July 25 2014 at 6:11 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Neal Brandt

Poor ole Walmart. Maybe other people like me who Walmart changed there oil and forgot to put the oil back in and ended up with a $2,300 repair bill and swore that they would never go to Walmart again is starting to hurt them.

July 25 2014 at 3:45 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
LacyDLite

I went in my local WM "Super" store wanting 6 items; I only left with 2. There were 4 empty shelf places for the other items...Duh...is this some MBA's idea of a joke?

July 25 2014 at 2:00 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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