The Whispers Blog
Arkansas' breaking business news blog, with news and commentary from the Arkansas Business staff.
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What do the Koch family, Mars family, S.C. Johnson family and Rockefeller family all have in common? Well, besides all being multi-billion dollar empires, they all have less money than the Waltons of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville (NYSE:WMT).
Forbes recently ranked America's richest families, who combined for an aggregate wealth of $1.2 trillion, and the Walton family — made up of Christy Walton, Jim Walton, Alice Walton, S. Robson Walton, Ann Walton Kroenke and Nancy Walton Laurie — was the wealthiest with a combined net worth of $152 billion.
Here's what Forbes had to say about the wealthiest family in America.
"Unrest has beset the Walton's Wal-Mart empire. Workers at one of the world's biggest employers went on strike to protest low wages and have led a movement to unseat Rob Walton as chairman, but family's tight grip on the retailer — together they own 51 percent of the shares — gives them effective veto power. With $476 billion in revenue, Wal-Mart still reigns as the world's largest retailer, a far cry from the company started by Sam Walton and his brother James in a small Arkansas town in 1962."
The Waltons were followed by the Koch family, with a net worth of $89 billion, and the Mars family, with a net worth of $60 billion. The Walton family's reign as America's wealthiest is large enough that the net worths of its two closest competitors could be combined, $149 billion, and still fall short by $3 billion.
For more on the wealthiest families in America, check out the list from Forbes.
After coming in second to Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE:RDS.A) last year, the Arkansas-based retail behemoth overtook the oil company which held the top spot the past two years. Here's some of what Fortune had to say about its top-rated company:
"The retailer has ramped up its international focus. With Doug McMillon's start as CEO in 2014, the company has underscored its desire to expand further overseas. Prior to taking the helm, McMillon headed Wal-Mart International from February 2009 to February 2014."
It's the first time since 2011 that Wal-Mart has been ranked No. 1, after coming in second in 2013 and third in 2012.
Since 2000, Wal-Mart has been ranked No. 1 nine times, including four consecutive years from 2002-05. Its lowest ranking in the past 15 years has been third.
Wal-Mart reported revenue of $476.3 billion and a net income of $16.022 billion in 2013. McMillon saw a total compensation of $25.6 million last year, including stock awards of $23 million.
ArcBest Corp. of Fort Smith, formerly known as Arkansas Best Corp. and parent company to ABF Freight and other related businesses, has moved up in the Fortune 1000.
The firm announced Wednesday that it had moved up 38 spots to No. 889. Last year, the company was 927 on the list, which rankls the nation's companies by gross revenue.
In addition to its largest subsidiary ABF Freight, one of the nation's leading less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers, ArcBest is the parent company of ABF Logistics, Panther Premium Logistics, FleetNet America and ArcBest Technologies.
ArcBest is considering moving ABF Freight from North Little Rock to Memphis.
The University of Arkansas announced Monday that Chuck Barrett will no longer be the voice of the Razorbacks baseball broadcast, and will also become an employee of IMG College while continuing his other duties with the Razorback Sports Network.
Barrett, who has served as the voice of the Razorbacks for football, men's basketball and baseball since 2010, began as the baseball play-by-play announcer in 1992, the same year Arkansas joined the Southeastern Conference.
"And while I have truly enjoyed each and every of the past 23 seasons, I decided it was time for me to step away from the baseball broadcasts," Barrett said in a news release. "I sincerely appreciate the University of Arkansas and IMG working together to create a new role that will allow me to continue my affiliation with the Razorbacks as the play-by-play broadcaster for football and men's basketball."
IMG is the university's multi-media rights partner and a national sports marketing company. It represents several colleges and universities across the country, in addition to several sports conferences, including the SEC.
The Clarksville native has been involved in Razorback football broadcasts for 20 years, and has been the play-by-play broadcaster since 2007. He became the play-by-play broadcaster for men's basketball in 2010. He will continue in those roles, in addition to his roles as host of "The Bret Bielema Show," "Full Court Press with Mike Anderson" and other Razorback Sports Network programming.
Barrett has served as the athletics department's director of broadcasting since 2007. He's been named the Arkansas Sportscaster of the Year three times. In his time with Razorbacks baseball, Barrett called more than 1,250 games.
IMG College, in consultation with the university, will conduct a national search for Barrett's replacement.
The co-founder and CEO of SmartStar, a mobile application that teaches children life skills, says everything she knows about herself as a leader and manager was learned during a summer internship at Wal-Mart.
Josilyn Tan spent last summer working as a field management intern at one of the Bentonville retailer's stores in Sahuarita, Arizona. Tan recently shared what she learned from that summer in a post on LinkedIn that has now been picked up by Quartz.
The internship did not start as well as expected. Tan said it was the most difficult work experience she had encountered.
Tan also mentioned the guidance she received from the Arizona Wal-Mart's store manager, which she called "the most seasoned store manager in the market" with 7-8 years of experience.
"Given all the bad press Wal-Mart gets about its workers, let me tell you why they are still the world's largest retailer: it is because they are still doing something right," Tan said in her post.
In the end, Tan says she found out retail was not for me, but she greatly enjoyed her time at Wal-Mart.
"Wal-Mart didn't breed another store manager, but it is still an instrumental part to my story. When I become a millionaire, I will always remember that summer with Wal-Mart, and where I was then. I will laugh, but I will also be grateful, and I will always tell the story of how Wal-Mart has shaped me into the strong person that I am today."
To read her entire blog, click here.
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