Bill Simon Stepping Down As Leader of Wal-Mart's U.S. Stores

by Lance Turner  on Thursday, Jul. 24, 2014 7:56 am  

Bill Simon

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville announced Thursday that Bill Simon, 54, president and CEO of its U.S. stores, is leaving the company. The retailer named Greg Foran, 53, as his successor.

Simon had been the leader of Wal-Mart's domestic operations since June 2010. Foran takes over on Aug. 9.

"During Bill’s eight years of service to Walmart, his passion for our mission, dedication to our associates and our customers, and innovative thinking pushed us forward," Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon said in a news release. "From the very beginning, his vision led us to lower the cost of health care through our $4 prescription offering. And, most recently, he put us on a path to future growth with small formats and efforts that integrate digital and physical retail."

Wal-Mart said Simon will be available "on a consulting basis for the next six months" to ensure a good transition.

Wal-Mart did not say why Simon was "transitioning out of the company." In a statement cited by The Wall Street Journal, Simons said, "This felt like the right time to move on and focus on my next opportunity."

But Simon's division, made up of Wal-Mart's discount stores in the U.S., has struggled with declining same-store sales, which have fallen for five straight quarters.

The same-store sales issues was a topic during events surrounding Wal-Mart's shareholders meeting in June. McMillon signaled that a solution included a great emphasis on online shopping. Executives spoke of their efforts to tie the company's growing e-commerce division with its U.S., international and Sam's Club divisions.

"There are so many new ways to serve our customers," McMillon said in June. "We must be stronger merchants, all of us together. That’s what Sam Walton did, and that’s what we’re going to do."

Wal-Mart shared details of Simon's retirement package in a filing with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday. According to the filing, Simon will receive payments totaling about $4.5 million in multiple installments through July 2016. He'll also earn about $300,000 in consulting fees until the arrangement ends on Jan. 1. 

According to Arkansas Business' most recent ranking of public company executive compensation in Arkansas, Simon received total compensation of $13 million in 2013. 

Leading In Asia

Foran joined the Wal-Mart in October 2011 and became president and CEO of Walmart China in March 2012. He was promoted to president and CEO of Walmart Asia earlier this year.

Before working at Walmart, Foran held a number of roles with Woolworths, the leading retailer in Australia and New Zealand. He served as the managing director of supermarkets, liquor and petrol with responsibility for more than $40 billion in sales at that time. Earlier in his career, Foran was general manager of Big W, Woolworth’s industry leading discount store business and as general manager of Dick Smith Electronics.

"I’ve worked closely with Greg for the past few years and I’ve seen firsthand his passion for retail. I’m confident that Greg’s strong leadership skills and alignment with our culture will serve our customers and associates well," McMillon said. "I’m excited about what he will bring to this important part of our business."

According to the SEC filing, Wal-Mart said Foran will earn a base salary of $950,000 along with other compensation.



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