Wal-Mart's Doug McMillon: Online Sales, Stores Make Customer Experience Better

by Anne D'Innocenzio, The Associated Press  on Friday, Jun. 6, 2014 11:44 am  

Wal-Mart also is facing tough ethical questions overseas as it continues to confront concerns over how it handled bribery allegations that surfaced in April 2012 at its Mexican unit. The company is being pressured to increase its oversight of factories abroad following a building collapse in April 2013 in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,100 garment workers. Wal-Mart wasn't using any of the factories in the building at the time of the collapse, but it is the second-largest retail buyer of clothing in Bangladesh.

Among the proposals by shareholders was a call for an independent chairman that doesn't serve as an executive at Wal-Mart, a move that was backed by Institutional Shareholder Services but failed in a preliminary tally of votes. Wal-Mart has said ISS's request for disclosure of "specific findings" in regard to possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits companies from bribing foreign officials, is "contrary to the best interests of the company" because such a disclosure could interfere with the ongoing investigations.

ISS also recommended that shareholders vote against the re-election of board members, citing the failure of the board to provide more information to shareholders about specific findings of the investigation into bribery outside of the United States. All 14 directors were re-elected.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart named Greg Penner to the new position of vice chairman, signaling that succession planning on the board could be in the works.

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