Early Wal-Mart CEO Ron Mayer Remembers Sam Walton

by Kate Knable  on Monday, Jul. 2, 2012 12:00 am  

Ron Mayer, the first man to have the CEO title at Wal-Mart, now lives in Indiana.

“He was very gracious in his calling of his opponents’ shots. I’ve never seen anyone who called the shots in favor of the opponent who wasn’t an outstanding person,” Mayer said.

Mayer said he invested in Wal-Mart first as an employee, even before the company went public, and after splits each share had cost him less than a penny.

Wal-Mart has changed quite a bit since Mayer’s days.

“At the time, we were trying to do business with a lot of local manufacturing and distribution places in the areas where we put in stores. Now everything’s made in China. That’s the difference that 40 years makes,” Mayer said.

“Oh, you know, who’s to judge what they call progress? It’s all in the eyes of the beholder.”

Mayer left Wal-Mart in 1976 to become an owner of Ayr-Way, a discount store chain in Indianapolis that was sold to Target in 1982. He now lives in Carmel, Ind.



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